National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

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MBNMS Working Groups, Adhoc Working Groups, and Subcommittees

Existing Working Groups

These working groups were created prior to the establishment of the Advisory Council: Conservation Working Group (CWG), Research Activity Panel (RAP), and Sanctuary Tourism and Recreation (STAR) Working Group. These working groups provide advice to the Advisory Council on priorities and program coordination. Working groups may be composed of members and alternates of the council and persons outside the council.  Existing working groups shall make every effort to meet in places that are open and accessible to the public.


Subcommittees are composed solely of members of the Advisory Council and can disband once final advice on a particular matter has been submitted to the council.

Adhoc Working Groups

These working groups are established for specific purposed or topics needing focused attention that cannot be accomplished by a subcommittee. Their work is limited to functional areas and discrete issues relating to individual sanctuaries.


image of a humpback whale breaching in mbnms