b. The National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMS) is administered by the Secretary of Commerce
through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Ocean Service
(NOS). The program provides a coordinated and comprehensive approach to identify, designate and
manage areas of the maritime environment of special national significance.
c. The goals of the NMS program are:
(1) To enhance resource protection through the implementation of a comprehensive, long-term
management plan tailored to specific resources;
(2) To promote and coordinate research to expand the scientific knowledge of significant marine
resources and improve interagency decision making;
(3) To enhance public awareness, understanding, and wise use of the marine environment through
public interpretive and recreational programs; and
(4) To provide, to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource protection, the
optimum public and private use of special marine areas.
d. NOS is responsible for carrying out these goals through cooperative partnerships between Federal,
state and local agencies, educational and research institutions, and nongovernmental organizations.
The Coast Guard contributes to this effort through waterways management responsibilities, marine
environmental protection activities, and the enforcement of sanctuary regulations as a part of its law
e. Thirteen national marine sanctuaries are currently designated and a fourteenth is proposed. The
contact information for each of these sanctuaries is listed in enclosure (1).
a. Enforcement Authority.
(1) Where marine sanctuaries lie in state waters, NOS primarily coordinates enforcement with state
enforcement agencies. In waters beyond state jurisdiction, the Coast Guard is the primary
maritime enforcement agency.
(2) The Coast Guard has authority to enforce the NMSA under 14 U.S.C. 2 and 14 U.S.C. 89.
Section 1437(h) of the NMSA specifically states that nothing shall be considered to limit the
Coast Guard's authority to enforce the NMSA or any other Federal law. The Coast Guard may
enforce all applicable Federal laws within the boundaries of national marine sanctuaries.
(3) Violations of marine sanctuary regulations are prosecuted by the NOAA General Counsel.