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. 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. The summary of regulations that follows is only intended as a general reference to sanctuary regulations. The waters surrounding the Keys are part of a protected area known as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. 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 any matter except cooling water or engine exhaust. Removing, taking, spearing, or otherwise damaging any coral, marine invertebrate, plant, soil, rock, or other material. 1990. Fish and Water quality is deteriorating in nearshore and confined waters of the Florida Keys. Having a vessel anchored on living coral in water less than 40 feet deep when the bottom can be seen. 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. 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. 74, No. We have protected docking facilities on the Bay with immediate access to the ocean through the Waterway. Removing, injuring, or possessing coral or live rock. THE 10 BEST Florida Keys Beaches (with Photos) - Tripadvisor (NOAA Photo Library.) R. van Woesik & S. Burman . 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. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology . “idle speed only/no wake” zone:  prohibited from operating Florida Keys A Keys fishing boat was in a protected area, the Coast Guard says. 63, No. 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. Planning Your Visit. 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. Mounting ecological threats to the Keys' coral reef ecosystem prompted this designation. Located in Monroe County, approximately 53 miles south of Miami and 15 miles east of Key West. Discharging or depositing treated or untreated sewage from marine sanitation devices, trash, and other materials. Shown … 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. (Chickens, a common sight in Key West, are also protected against any acts of malice.) Key West. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) ... (Millepora sp.) “no-motor” zone:  prohibited from using internal combustion Touching or standing on living or dead coral. Sanctuary Preservation Areas, Special-use Areas, and the Western Sambo Ecological Reserve are marked by 30" round yellow buoys. Anchoring on living or dead coral or any attached organism. But amidst the topaz waters, diving pelicans and lush mangroves are a treasure trove of attractions … Moving, removing, taking, injuring, touching, breaking, cutting or possessing coral or live rock. 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. We are located only 200 yards from the Cross Keys Waterway which is also known as Adams Waterway which connects Florida Bay to John Pennekamp State Park and the Atlantic Ocean.  (Federal Register, Vol. Biscayne National Park. (Photo courtesy of Thomas K. Gibson, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; NOAA Photo Library.) Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any marine life. SPAs encompass discrete, biologically important areas that help sustain critical marine species and habitats. 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. Anchoring on living or dead coral, or any attached organism. motor or engine may access a “no-motor” zone only through the use of Congress established the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS)in November 1990 to protect the region's valuable and unique resources. Anchoring when a mooring buoy is available. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is just one of these protected areas in Florida. Everglades National Park abuts the near-shore waters of Key Largo to the west. Miami Blue Butterfly – Highly-endangered and considered among the rarest insects in the United States. 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… In the city of Key West, masks are to be worn in indoor and outdoor areas. Chances are you've visited a marine protected area and maybe didn't even know it. Taking or possessing protected wildlife. Birds – All migratory birds in the Florida Keys are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. may be designated “idle speed only/no-wake,” “no-motor” or “no-access Mooring by vessel(s) more than 100 feet in total or combined length overall is prohibited. And the whole reef system is protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. 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. 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. 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 in such a manner which endangers life, limb, marine resources, or property. Executive order 13158: Marine Protected Areas. Obey boat-speed restrictions in canals and other areas where manatees are often found, known as “Manatee Zones”. 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. vary widely in the level of protection they provide. Note: The Florida Keys officially reopened for tourism October 1, 2017, after the island chain was hit hard by Category 4 storm Hurricane Irma. Using or possessing explosives or electrical charges. At just 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, laid-back Key West is the epitome of island lifestyle. Do not hunt, trap, harvest, or harm any birds. 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 … Some of the best examples of undisturbed rockland hammocks in Florida are protected and managed to benefit wildlife. 62, No. Six percent of the sanctuary consists of fully protected zones. This report was prepared by the author under contract for The Nature Conservancy under the cooperative 11, Wednesday, January 17, 2001) (pdf, 8.2 Mb), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations – Anchoring on Tortugas Bank, 15 CFR Part 922 (Federal Register, Vol. Dredging, drilling, prop dredging or otherwise altering the seabed, or placing or abandoning any structure on the seabed. 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. Ahhh, the Florida Keys. Marine Protected Areas of the United States: Florida. A vessel with an internal combustion These regulations have been separated into those that apply throughout the sanctuary and those that apply to specific sanctuary zones. There are many unique, distinctive plant and animal species here, both native and imported, and the waters surrounding the Keys are all part of a protected area called the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Marine zoning is designed to protect and preserve sensitive parts of the ecosystem while allowing activities that are compatible with resource protection. Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protect shallow reefs along the reef tract. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any Anchoring on hardbottom is allowed. Regulations for this zone type are designed to limit consumptive activities and to separate users engaged in different kinds of activities. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp. Catch and release fishing by trolling is allowed in. Moving, removing, injuring, or possessing historical resources. The 891-acre (3.6 km 2) refuge was established in 1929. History. Florida marine protected areas include Biscayne National Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and many other national seashores and parks. Florida's official state animal, the endangered Florida panther also lives in dwindling numbers in the Everglades area. 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. Fishing by any means; removing, harvesting, or possessing any marine life. Diving, snorkeling and boating are allowed inside these zones. Damaging or removing markers, mooring buoys, scientific equipment, boundary buoys, and trap buoys. 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. 66, No. motors or engines for any purposes. a vessel at a speed greater that idle speed only/no wake. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. State fisheries regulations are available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. buffer” zones or “closed”. Check with the appropriate federal agency for applicable rules and regulations that apply in these areas. Keys officials require facial coverings be worn in businesses, and outdoors when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. Tortugas Ecological Reserve is not marked. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary established the nation’s first comprehensive network of marine zones in 1997 after years of planning, design, and public input. SPAs have mooring buoys for boaters to use in order to prevent anchor damage to corals. It had other problems Public-access restrictions in these areas include idle speed only/no wake, no access buffer, no motor, and limited closures and are marked as such. For visitors to the Florida Keys, COVID-19 protocols remain in place. … Operating a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of a “divers down” flag. “no-access buffer” zone:  prohibited from entering the area 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. 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.). The full text of the sanctuary regulations can be found at 15 CFR 922 Subpart P and should be referred to for more specific information. by vessel. For details on how to report a regulatory violation, visit floridakeys.noaa.gov/report.html. Nutrient-rich wastewater is released from cesspits, septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. This area is also home loads of marine life — nearly 1,400 species of marine plants and animals live here. Numerous rodents such as the endangered Key Largo woodrat, and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit along with opossum, skunk, and mink struggle to survive. 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. Do not harass, kill, touch, feed, or possess crocodile. 227, Friday, November 26, 2010) (pdf, 195 kb), Marine Sanitation Device Discharge Regulations, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Zones, Tortugas Ecological Reserve Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Final Supplemental Management Plan (pdf, 4.4 Mb), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations – Establishment of Tortugas Ecological Reserve, 15 CFR Part 922 (Federal Register, Vol. Dry Tortugas National Park. White Heron and Key West National Wildlife Refuge Management Areas: Twenty Wildlife Management Areas are co-managed with the U.S. 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. marine life. If you've gone fishing in central California, diving in the Florida Keys, camping in Acadia, swimming in Cape Cod, snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, birding in a Gulf Coast wetland, hiking along the Olympic Coast, or boating in Thunder Bay, you've probably been one of thousands of visitors to a marine protected area. The waters around Key Largo are an ecologically fascinating place where freshwater from the Everglades mixes with the saltwater of Florida Bay. Just to be sure, call ahead to be sure your hotel and planned activities are fully up and running. Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protect shallow reefs along the reef tract. Federal fisheries regulations are available from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, or the National Marine Fisheries Service - Southeast Region. 8. No access permit necessary if vessel remains in continuous transit with fishing gear stowed. Spanning approximately 221 miles, the reef extends from Key Biscayne near Miami down to the Dry Tortugas, located west of Key West. There are thousands of tiny inlets to explore by boat, jet ski – or in some cases even a short swim. and mustard hill. The reef system in the Florida Keys is the third largest barrier reef in the world. A summary of all sanctuary regulations is available online. A copy of the regulations can also be obtained by calling any sanctuary office. Possession of spearfishing equipment, except while passing through without interruption. Contact the appropriate agencies or organizations directly for more information on these laws. 75, No. ***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 … 66, No. 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 Anchoring on living or dead coral or any attached organism. 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. There are 18 SPAs within the sanctuary, which together cover a total of about 4.97 square nautical miles. Discharging any matter except cooling water or engine exhaust. Diving or snorkeling without a dive flag. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest marine protected areas in the United States, encompassing 2,896 square nautical miles (9,933 square kilometers). 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 Chances are you’ve visited a Marine Protected Area and didn’t even know it. a push pole, paddle, sail, electric motor or similar means of propulsion. For thousands of years, the resources and beauty of the Florida Keys have attracted humans. For the full text of sanctuary regulations, see 15 CFR 922 Subpart P. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary permit, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Operating a personal watercraft, operating an airboat, or water skiing. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It was designated by Congress and exists under federal law, and became effective in state waters with the consent of the state of Florida. Catch and release fishing by trolling is allowed in Conch Reef, Alligator Reef, Sombrero Reef, and Sand Key SPAs only. Vessels may only enter if they remain in continuous transit with fishing gear stowed (diving and snorkeling are prohibited). 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. 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 … Everglades National Park. Coral bleaching, coral diseases, and protected areas in the Florida Keys Report to The Nature Conservancy, October 19, 2012 . 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