Get to Know Your National Marine Sanctuaries

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National marine sanctuaries are special areas that protect important marine ecosystems around the nation. Some sanctuaries are breeding and feeding grounds for endangered whales, others contain thriving coral reefs or kelp forests, and many are home to historic shipwrecks and other archaeological treasures. NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries manages a national network of such places, encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of U.S. ocean and Great Lakes waters. The goal of the sanctuary system is to protect important natural and cultural places, while still allowing people to enjoy and use the ocean. In total, NOAA manages thirteen national marine sanctuaries and co-manages two marine national monuments.

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