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News & Press: Public Policy: Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

ALERT - NOAA Proposes Changes to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Thursday, December 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) proposes to expand the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) boundary, update sanctuary-wide regulations, modify and establish new marine zones, update marine zone-specific regulations, and revise the sanctuary’s non-regulatory management plan. NOAA has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) on FKNMS.

According to NOAA, the existing FKNMS Sanctuary regulations, marine zones, and management plan activities designed and implemented in the mid-1990s are no longer sufficient to ensure long-term resource protection and ecosystem function integrity into the future.

DEMA has been a supporter of the National Marine Sanctuaries since the 1990s and was heavily involved with the creation of FKNMS. DEMA has supported the reauthorization of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, testifying before congress in support of the Act and the need to permit access by non-consumptive activities such as recreational diving, reminding government and management that recreational divers, more than anyone else, see first-hand the conditions of reefs, and that diving is not an inherently “extractive” activity that depletes resources such as coral or reef fish.

Since the 1990s, DEMA has been the recreational diving community’s voice for the Sanctuary Programs and is now seeking your help in continuing to express the need to protect these valuable natural assets while maintaining diver access to the Sanctuary areas.

Please provide comments on the proposed Sanctuary changes by going to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. Use docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0094.

For those local to the Florida Keys and South Florida, the sanctuary will hold its final public meeting and accept oral comments on December 10:

Islander Resort
82100 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, Florida


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