A healthy reef ecosystem is key to a healthy marine environment and the office of the National Marine Sanctuary Southeast region includes three distinctive yet interconnected reef systems.
Each year, on the eight or ninth night after the August full moon, several different species of corals at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary release billions of pellet-sized polyps that soar to the surface in what is considered by many observers as the big event of coral spawning in the Gulf of Mexico.
Seventeen miles off Georgia is Gray's Reef which has one of the largest nearshore sandstone reefs in the southeastern United States. Sanctuary boundaries protect 17 square miles of open ocean.
And the Florida Keys are internationally known for abundant fishing, numerous coral reefs, and historic underwater archaeological sites, and are a major tourist attraction.
Visit the regional site links to learn more about the Florida Keys, Gray’s Reef and the Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuaries.