***Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary during … If you’ve gone fishing in central California, diving in the Florida Keys, swimming in Cape Cod, or hiking along the Olympic Coast, you’ve probably been one of millions of visitors to a Marine Protected Area, usually referred to … SPAs encompass discrete, biologically important areas that help sustain critical marine species and habitats. This area is also home loads of marine life — nearly 1,400 species of marine plants and animals live here. It was designated by Congress and exists under federal law, and became effective in state waters with the consent of the state of Florida. Key West. Using or possessing explosives or electrical charges. … Located in Monroe County, approximately 53 miles south of Miami and 15 miles east of Key West. Administered by NOAA, a federal agency, and jointly managed with the state of Florida, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys, from south of Miami westward to encompass the … But amidst the topaz waters, diving pelicans and lush mangroves are a treasure trove of attractions … Touching or standing on living or dead coral. Removing, injuring, or possessing coral or live rock. Removing, taking, spearing, or otherwise damaging any coral, marine invertebrate, plant, soil, rock, or other material. 66, No. “no-access buffer” zone:  prohibited from entering the area The summary of regulations that follows is only intended as a general reference to sanctuary regulations. Anchoring on living or dead coral, or any attached organism. Florida Keys A Keys fishing boat was in a protected area, the Coast Guard says. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any marine life. Florida's important recreational and commercial fisheries would drastically decline without healthy mangrove forests. “idle speed only/no wake” zone:  prohibited from operating The waters surrounding the Keys are part of a protected area known as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. R. van Woesik & S. Burman . Vessels may only enter if they remain in continuous transit with fishing gear stowed (diving and snorkeling are prohibited). Spanning approximately 221 miles, the reef extends from Key Biscayne near Miami down to the Dry Tortugas, located west of Key West. The 891-acre (3.6 km 2) refuge was established in 1929. Everglades National Park. Regulations for this zone type are designed to limit consumptive activities and to separate users engaged in different kinds of activities. Mounting ecological threats to the Keys' coral reef ecosystem prompted this designation. The reef system in the Florida Keys is the third largest barrier reef in the world. 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. Fish and motor or engine may access a “no-motor” zone only through the use of A group of boaters out of Naples, Florida, were caught fishing in a federally protected no-take zone in waters of Dry Tortugas, said fish and wildilfe police. Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protect shallow reefs along the reef tract. Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protect shallow reefs along the reef tract. Numerous rodents such as the endangered Key Largo woodrat, and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit along with opossum, skunk, and mink struggle to survive. We have protected docking facilities on the Bay with immediate access to the ocean through the Waterway. a push pole, paddle, sail, electric motor or similar means of propulsion. Anchoring when a mooring buoy is available. There are thousands of tiny inlets to explore by boat, jet ski – or in some cases even a short swim. 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. 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. For visitors to the Florida Keys, COVID-19 protocols remain in place. THE 10 BEST Florida Keys Beaches (with Photos) - Tripadvisor Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology . White Heron and Key West National Wildlife Refuge Management Areas: Twenty Wildlife Management Areas are co-managed with the U.S. Chances are you’ve visited a Marine Protected Area and didn’t even know it. 126 , Friday, June 29, 2001) (pdf, 44 kb), Regulation to Establish a No Discharge Zone for State Waters within the Boundary of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 40 CFR Part 140 (67 FR 35735) (pdf, 52 kb), Changes to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations; Technical Corrections and Minor Substantive Changes, 15 CFR Part 922 (Federal Register, Vol. 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. Having a vessel anchored on living coral in water less than 40 feet deep when the bottom can be seen. And the whole reef system is protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. State fisheries regulations are available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 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. Dredging, drilling, prop dredging or otherwise altering the seabed, or placing or abandoning any structure on the seabed. Marine Protected Areas of the United States: Florida. Anchoring on hardbottom is allowed. Some of the best examples of undisturbed rockland hammocks in Florida are protected and managed to benefit wildlife. Chances are you've visited a marine protected area and maybe didn't even know it. Keys officials require facial coverings be worn in businesses, and outdoors when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. Here in Florida, the Florida Keys tell the story of rising seas better than most places, with 90 percent of the land mass at five feet above sea level or less. 63, No. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. Catch and release fishing by trolling is allowed in. Six percent of the sanctuary consists of fully protected zones. In the city of Key West, masks are to be worn in indoor and outdoor areas. Florida's official state animal, the endangered Florida panther also lives in dwindling numbers in the Everglades area. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary visitors are invited to dive, swim, snorkel, or fish; however, rules and regulations are in place to make sure that these activities only happen in ways – and at places – that are not harmful to sanctuary resources. A vessel with an internal combustion Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. Tortugas Ecological Reserve is not marked. Discharging any matter except cooling water or engine exhaust. Diving, snorkeling and boating are allowed inside these zones. “closed” zone:  prohibited from entering or using the area. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any marine life. Miami Blue Butterfly – Highly-endangered and considered among the rarest insects in the United States.  (Federal Register, Vol. Water quality is deteriorating in nearshore and confined waters of the Florida Keys. There are 18 SPAs within the sanctuary, which together cover a total of about 4.97 square nautical miles. With certain exceptions, the following activities are prohibited in Sanctuary Preservation Areas: Click on the map to see locations of marine zones within the sanctuary, or view a complete list of all marine zones. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is just one of these protected areas in Florida. Check with the appropriate federal agency for applicable rules and regulations that apply in these areas. No access permit necessary if vessel remains in continuous transit with fishing gear stowed. Dry Tortugas National Park. Marine zoning is designed to protect and preserve sensitive parts of the ecosystem while allowing activities that are compatible with resource protection. 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. Discharging or depositing treated or untreated sewage from marine sanitation devices, trash, and other materials. For details on how to report a regulatory violation, visit floridakeys.noaa.gov/report.html. 75, No. However, commercial taking of spiny lobster and stone crab by trap and recreational taking of spiny lobster by hand or hand gear consistent with applicable state and federal fishery regulations are allowed. Wildlife Service, marine portions of these Wildlife Management Areas 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. 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. 66, No. Diving or snorkeling without a dive flag. a vessel at a speed greater that idle speed only/no wake. Catch and release fishing by trolling is allowed in Conch Reef, Alligator Reef, Sombrero Reef, and Sand Key SPAs only. 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 They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp. A summary of all sanctuary regulations is available online. The Cedar Keys Wilderness Area (established in 1972) is part of the refuge, and consists of 379 acres (1.53 km 2) of its total area. History. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. 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.