Sunday, July 14, 2024

National Marine Sanctuaries Act Turns 50 This Week


This week marks the 50th anniversary of the US National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

The legislation was enacted on October 23rd, 1972 in response to environmental crises such as the Santa Barbara oil spill that focused public attention on ocean conservation. Since then, the National Marine Sanctuary System has grown to include 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments spanning from the central Pacific across to the North Atlantic, and from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s 50th anniversary’s campaign theme, Save Spectacular,” is a celebration of US waters to demonstrate the importance of national marine sanctuaries.

Kris Sarri, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, said:

“For fifty years, our National Marine Sanctuary System has safeguarded species and the places they call home, offered opportunities for research, education, recreation, and conservation, and protected our nation’s maritime and cultural heritage. We are proud of our part in this work alongside our partners at [the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s] Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

“The National Marine Sanctuaries Act has left an incredible legacy of ocean and coastal conservation and continues to be a shining beacon of hope for continued progress in the face of a changing planet and continued conservation challenges.

“As we look forward to the next half century, we can use this this inflection point to build on and strengthen the National Marine Sanctuaries Act by expanding our national system of protected waters with permanent protections for biodiversity, increase resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and ensure equitable access to nature for all.”

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Adobe Stock)
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Adobe Stock)
John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.