National Marine Sanctuaries
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#33 1990
Big Tools for Big Jobs: Protecting Sanctuary Resources With New Tools

In 1990, after a series of devastating boat groundings in the Florida Keys, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act was signed. Not only was the Act significant in designating Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (incorporating the older Looe Key and Key Largo National Marine Sanctuaries), it also provided the foundation for a series of tools and approaches that would become the hallmarks for sanctuary management: large-scale zoning, strict regulation of oil, gas, and mineral extraction, sanctuary advisory councils, formal co-management with States (NOAA’s primary management partner is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, while the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission enforces sanctuary regulations in partnership the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement) and issue-oriented, action plan-based management plans. Today, with decades of successes under its belt, the sanctuary is initiating a process to reexamine its zones and regulations in preparation for the next decade of protection and conservation.

Along with research and education programs, we employ a host of tools, processes, and authorities to achieve our mandate of protecting the resources in our sanctuaries.

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