Visitors to Northern California marine sanctuaries pump $1.2 billion into economy

Eloísa Ruano González, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PDF: North and Central Coast marine sanctuaries in NOAA study
PDF: Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank marine sanctuaries
Visitors drawn to kayaking, surfing and sightseeing along the protected waters off Northern California’s coast pumped more than $1.2 billion into the region, according to a new federal study.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looked at low-impact recreational visitors to the Greater Farallones and the northern portion of the Monterey Bay marine sanctuary in 2011 and their economic impact on coastal counties including Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin.
Conservationists say the data, published last week, highlights the benefits marine sanctuaries can provide for residents and the importance of protecting the coast, bolstering their push to expand the sanctuaries along a greater extent of the state’s shoreline.
“These are huge numbers,” said Richard Charter, a Sonoma Coast resident and senior fellow with the Washington D.C.-based Ocean Foundation. “(They’re) telling us without any doubt that a clean coast means a healthy economy.”
Visitors to Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary alone spent $86 million, mostly on food, drinks and lodging in surrounding counties, according to the peer-reviewed study. That, in return, provided a boost to local businesses and generated more than a thousand jobs.
Read more at: Visitors to Northern California marine sanctuaries pump $1.2 | The Press Democrat