Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Socioeconomics

view of the water

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary supports livelihoods in coastal Florida by protecting resources with economic value that extends beyond the water.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is much more than our playground. It is where hundreds, like me, make our living. I feel like I speak for other instructors, captains, divers and owners when I say we have the utmost respect for the reefs and the ecosystems they support.

Rob Mitchell
Owner, Keys Diver and Snorkel Center

  • More than 33,000 jobs in the Florida Keys, an area surrounded by the national marine sanctuary, are supported by ocean recreation and tourism, accounting for 58 percent of the local economy and $2.3 billion in annual sales.

  • In the tourist season 2007-2008, more than 400,000 visitors and residents of the Florida Keys engaged in over 2 million person-days of recreational sports fishing.  These recreational fishers spent $274 million in Monroe County/Florida Keys, approximately $107.6 million of which was directly spent on fishing items.
  • In the tourist season 2007-2008, approximately 739,000 visitors and residents participated in 2.8 million days of diving in the Florida Keys; $54 million was spent at diving/snorkeling operations.  Moreover, divers spent a total of $470 million in Monroe County, Florida Keys, supporting more than 7,500 jobs.

  • Wildlife viewing and nature study is a popular activity with over 620,000 visitors and residents participating, resulting in almost 2.7 million days of the activity.

  • In 1995, it was estimated that fishermen received $56.5 million in harvest revenue which generated $92.2 million in sales/output in Monroe County, or about 4.5% of the total economy that year. This sales/output generated over $58 million in income and 4,130 jobs, 8.8% of all Monroe County employment.