Testifying for sanctuaries

Pushing for economic growth and coastal job creation, NMSF President Jason Patlis advocated for congressional support of national marine sanctuaries on March 22.

In his prepared testimony for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies on 2013 funding, Patlis stressed that sanctuaries are a lifeline for hundreds of local businesses. These special places provide ocean access for recreation, research, and education, while preserving vibrant underwater treasures for our children’s children to enjoy.

Patlis made three main points:

1. Underfunding the sanctuary program will prevent the completion of ongoing construction projects. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary headquarters in San Francisco – housed in a Coast Guard facility where the newest building is 74 years old – will likely be unable to finish renovations in time for the 2013 America’s Cup sailing race, which is expected to draw 5 million visitors to the San Francisco waterfront.

2. Sanctuaries have an extremely high return on investment. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Massachusetts costs taxpayers under $2 million annually, while the healthy sanctuary waters draw tourists, who spent $126 million on commercial whale-watching trips in 2008 alone.

3. Communities support sanctuaries. Our comments represent the position of a nationwide network of locally-based organizations that are directly connected to these special places, from Monterey Bay in California to the Florida Keys.

To see the full comments, click here.

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