Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Ecosystems and Society (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

David Die

Second Committee Member

Christopher Kelble

Third Committee Member

Maria Estevanez

Fourth Committee Member

Manoj Shivlani


The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a multiple-use marine protected area with a history of tension between management entities and local stakeholders. At the root of the issues are differences in the definition of “successful management” between these two stakeholder groups and recent administrative vacancies within the Sanctuary’s management staff have made it difficult for the Sanctuary to update its management plan. This study surveyed two primary stakeholder groups in the Florida Keys in order to gain understanding of their perceptions of successful management. A comprehensive intercept survey detailing various management objectives was presented to participants in person using tablets and targeted emails over a period of five months. Results found that residency status was not the primary parameter influencing perception of management success, and that rather industry affiliation was strongly linked with views on management success. Significant differences between residents and visitors did exist when perception of threats to the Sanctuary was analyzed, indicating that those groups could benefit from targeted outreach and education ahead of changes to the management plan of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.


perception; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; human dimensions; survey