Sanctuary Program at a Crossroadsby Mark Murray-Brown, National Oceanic and Atmospheric, Administration, Washington, United States,
Abstract: The National Marine Sanctuary Program (Program) stands at a Cross roads with its mission to protect special areas of the marine environment. As public debates over the function and size of a sanctuary rage on around our nation., involving leader of both Congress and Executive branch, it seems much of the controversy is caused by a lack of understanding of the program's purpose which in turn is due to the absence of an overall program identity. An opportunity exists with this heightened interest in the program to forge a new direction of the program's choosing. A change of direction is recommended towards stringent resource protection regimes for individual sanctuaries. To achieve this end there needs to be a scaling down of the size of the sanctuaries; proactive encouragement of existing, and seeking of new public support; and campaigns to increase political awareness of the program's purposes. The time is right and efforts are already underway in this direction. This new path is intended to create a nationally recognized program identity that a sanctuary causes a quantifiable improvement in the health of the resources that it protects.
Subject Headings: Aquatic habitats | Project management | Resource management | Highways and roads | Seas and oceans | Fouling | Public participation
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