Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Contributes $4.4 Billion to State

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation released a study showing that economic activity generated in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is responsible for contributing $4.4 billion and 43,000 jobs across the state of Florida. 

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a major driver of tourism and recreation dollars, offering opportunities for world-class diving and fishing alongside abundant and varied wildlife.

Increased use, boat groundings, marine debris, pollution, intensifying storms, disease outbreaks, rising ocean temperatures and acidification are among the threats to the environment and the economy that the sanctuary supports. The report demonstrates the need to protect and restore the fragile habitats of the Florida Keys for the economic well-being of the entire state.

Understanding the economic impact of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is critical as future decisions are made about its management at the federal, state and local levels. The sanctuary is an irreplaceable treasure that will require careful management and community support to maintain and enhance its splendor.

The study, conducted by TBD Economics, LLC, describes how spending on tourism and recreation is driven by resources within and around the sanctuary and provides jobs, wages and contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP) across the state of Florida. Contributions to the Florida economy increased each year of the study, from $4.2 billion in 2015 to $4.4 billion in 2017. Expenditures on tourism and recreation in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary also led to $1.46 billion in labor income statewide in 2015 and $2.57 billion in value added to the state economy over the cost of business inputs. Employment supported by sanctuary use rose for every region of the state and statewide from 38,000 jobs in 2015 to 41,000 in 2016 and 42,900 jobs in 2017.

The report included an analysis of the potential effects of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Florida Keys. The analysis shows that in a normal year, the impacts to the state of Florida from HAB events impacting the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary could result in approximately $389 million lost from the economy, while an extreme HAB event in the sanctuary could cause up to $1.5 billion in damages.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects spectacular, unique and nationally significant marine resources stretching from Miami to the Tortugas, including North America’s only coral barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands and more than 6,000 species of marine life. The sanctuary also protects an estimated 800 underwater historic sites. 

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