Catch and release fishing by trolling is allowed in. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary uses a strategy called “marine zoning” to protect special habitat types such as corals, to avoid conflict by user groups such as divers and anglers, and to balance commercial and recreational interests with the need for a healthy ecosystem. 74, No. Shown … Damaging or removing markers, mooring buoys, scientific equipment, boundary buoys, and trap buoys. Water quality is deteriorating in nearshore and confined waters of the Florida Keys. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. Note that the text below is intended as summary only; for the full text of sanctuary regulations, see 15 CFR 922 Subpart P. With certain exceptions, the following activities are prohibited sanctuary-wide: Additionally, there are other existing state and federal laws regarding fishing and vessel discharges that apply in the sanctuary. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is just one of these protected areas in Florida. Congress established the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS)in November 1990 to protect the region's valuable and unique resources. Homes, businesses, infrastructure and people, as well as natural areas and native species are affected by sea level rise today and may be impacted by storm surge at any time. Even though most of the land area in the focal area lies between two to three feet above high tide, the combination of marine and tropical upland habitats supports a wealth of biological diversity an… Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located near Cedar Key, at the western end of SR 24. A road trip through the Florida Keys is its own reward: a 113-mile journey across islands with some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on. The waters surrounding the Keys are part of a protected area known as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. 8. It was designated by Congress and exists under federal law, and became effective in state waters with the consent of the state of Florida. Numerous rodents such as the endangered Key Largo woodrat, and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit along with opossum, skunk, and mink struggle to survive. Nutrient-rich wastewater is released from cesspits, septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. by vessel. Regulations that apply throughout the entire area of the sanctuary, both in highly protected areas and general-use areas, have a focus on habitat protection, reducing threats to water quality, and minimizing human impact to delicate resources. It is part of a productive marine ecosystem, made up of a matrix of interconnected habitats, which support one of the most biologically diverse assemblages of marine life in North America. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any marine life. Operating a vessel in such a manner which endangers life, limb, marine resources, or property. Other sources of water pollution are stormwater runoff containing fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, petroleum products, and heavy metals all of which may be affecting marine communities including coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangroves. Do not hunt, trap, harvest, or harm any birds. Marine Protected Areas of the United States: Florida. State fisheries regulations are available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Note: The Florida Keys officially reopened for tourism October 1, 2017, after the island chain was hit hard by Category 4 storm Hurricane Irma. Anchoring on hardbottom is allowed. 146, Friday, July 31, 2009) (pdf, 58 kb), Marine Sanitation Device Discharge Regulations for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 15 CFR Part 922 (Federal Register, Vol. Miami Blue Butterfly – Highly-endangered and considered among the rarest insects in the United States. Harvesting, possessing or landing any marine life species except as allowed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Rule (68B-42 F.A.C.). Planning Your Visit. For the more adventurous, the Looe Key coral reef, protected as part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, reaches depths of up to 100 feet and boasts steep, colorful coral formations. and mustard hill. Touching or standing on living or dead coral. With certain exceptions, the following activities are prohibited in the Ecological Reserves (ERs) and Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs): Additional regulation for the Tortugas Ecological Reserve South: Additional regulations for the Tortugas Ecological Reserve North: The following activities are prohibited in Special-use Research Only Areas: The following regulations apply in Wildlife Management Areas: The following regulations apply in Existing Management Areas: Activities prohibited in the Key Largo and Looe Key Existing Management Areas: Activities prohibited in the Great 113, Thursday, June 12, 1997) (pdf, 107 kb), Amendment to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations Revising the Boundary of the Northernmost Area To Be Avoided Off the Coast of Florida, 15 CFR Part 922 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) ... (Millepora sp.) Discharging or depositing treated or untreated sewage from marine sanitation devices, trash, and other materials. Except in officially marked channels, operating a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of residential shorelines, stationary vessels, or navigational aids marking reefs. Operating a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of a “divers down” flag. Mounting ecological threats to the Keys' coral reef ecosystem prompted this designation. THE 10 BEST Florida Keys Beaches (with Photos) - Tripadvisor 62, No. “idle speed only/no wake” zone:  prohibited from operating Florida Keys A Keys fishing boat was in a protected area, the Coast Guard says. Crocodile – The American Crocodile is a threatened species and, though rarely seen in the lower Florida Keys & Key West, is protected by state and federal law. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp. The 891-acre (3.6 km 2) refuge was established in 1929. buffer” zones or “closed”. Diving or snorkeling without a dive flag. But amidst the topaz waters, diving pelicans and lush mangroves are a treasure trove of attractions … Fish and Additional Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Administration and Legislation, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations, 15 CFR Parts 922, 929, and 937 (Federal Register, Vol. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. Touching or standing on living or dead coral. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any “no-motor” zone:  prohibited from using internal combustion No access permit necessary if vessel remains in continuous transit with fishing gear stowed. Ahhh, the Florida Keys. This report was prepared by the author under contract for The Nature Conservancy under the cooperative Key West. 66, No. 158, Monday, August 17, 1998) (pdf, 34 kb), Monroe County Recreational Lobster Harvesting Regulations (pdf, 485 kb), Monroe County Spearfishing Regulations (pdf, 588 kb), A Guide to Closed Areas for Commercial Spiny Lobster Trap Fishing (pdf, 1,426 kb), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service - Southeast Region, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary permit, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations, 15 CFR Parts 922, 929, and 937, Amendment to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations Revising the Boundary of the Northernmost Area To Be Avoided Off the Coast of Florid, Regulation to Establish a No Discharge Zone for State Waters within the Boundary of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Changes to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations; Technical Corrections and Minor Substantive Changes, Marine Sanitation Device Discharge Regulations for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 15 CFR Part 922, Tortugas Ecological Reserve Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Final Supplemental Management Plan, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations – Establishment of Tortugas Ecological Reserve, 15 CFR Part 922, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations – Anchoring on Tortugas Bank, 15 CFR Part 922, Monroe County Recreational Lobster Harvesting Regulations, A Guide to Closed Areas for Commercial Spiny Lobster Trap Fishing, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Regulations for this zone type are designed to limit consumptive activities and to separate users engaged in different kinds of activities. And the whole reef system is protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These regulations have been separated into those that apply throughout the sanctuary and those that apply to specific sanctuary zones. Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protect shallow reefs along the reef tract. The marine zoning plan for the Sanctuary includes five types of zones with varying levels of protection: Ecological Reserves, Sanctuary Preservation Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, Existing Management Areas, and Special-use Areas. It had other problems Operating a vessel in such a manner as to strike or otherwise injure coral, seagrass, or other immobile organisms attached to the seabed, or cause prop scarring. 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