The national marine sanctuary system is primarily funded through Congress and the White House. As the main advocate for the system and sanctuary communities on Capitol Hill, NMSF works with the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus and other Members to raise awareness and promote stronger funding by Congress and the Administration.

While public support for the sanctuary system is at an all-time high, federal funding for the system has stayed flat for several years. Sanctuaries’ work in research, conservation, heritage preservation and education has grown significantly. Increasing numbers of visitors enjoy sanctuaries’ outdoor recreation opportunities while local communities benefit economically from this tourism. Recognizing the value sanctuaries can bring, local groups are generating nominations for new sites and expansions of existing ones.

The potential impact of insufficient funding could be wide. Public access and recreation opportunities at sanctuaries could be reduced while public-private partnerships supporting education and research programs could be eliminated. Local jobs and small businesses created around sanctuaries could go away. Under-investment in sanctuary vessel could result in safety risks and diminished enforcement.

NMSF actively works to keep the sanctuary system funded. Among our activities, we connect community leaders to their representatives; produce briefings, events and other opportunities to make policymakers aware of sanctuary success stories; and lead advocacy calls to action so supporters can speak up effectively for sanctuaries.

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