Florida's Reefs

Precht, Bill Bprecht at pbsj.com
Tue Jun 26 13:30:58 EDT 2001

Dear Coral List:

And now for some really good news...

cheers to all,


Upper Keys Reporter

Friday, June 22, 2001

Letter to the Editor

Many helped create Tortugas marine reserve

On July1, we will celebrate the implementation of the Tortugas Ecological
Reserve, designated to protect critical coral reef habitat in this most
remote region of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

At 151 square nautical miles, the Tortugas Ecological Reserve will become
the largest fully protected underwater ecological reserve in North America.

The reserve's rich marine life and location at a crossroads of major ocean
currents hod he potential to help sustain marine life populations throughout
the region.

At a ceremony in Wahsington, D.C. on May 10, the sanctuary's Tortugas team
received the Administrator's Award, the highest honor given by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rightfully, the award belongs as well to the many partners who stood by us
during the three years it took to bring the reserve from conception to

I would like to acknowledge the commitment of our Tortugas 2000 working
group, which was able to take ecological and socioeconomic data and design a
reserve that addressed the needs and concerns of all stakeholders.

The broad coalition of groups and individuals who supported the reserve in
front of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the
governor and Cabinet bears testimony to the success of their consensus

Tony Iarocci, Peter Gladding and Richard Grathwohl were among the fishermen
who traveled to meetings throughout Florida, telling our appointed and
elected officials that fishermen clearly see that the reserves are in their
long-term interest.

World Wildlife Fund, the Center for Marine Conservation, Environmental
Defense and The Nature Conservancy are among the national and international
conservation organizations that have been steadfast supporters, and local
conservation organization Reef Relief weighed in with its support.

Debbie Harrison of World Wildlife Fund in particulat worked tirelessly to
forge an agreement on the reserve and support it through a complex approval

Bob Harris and John Stewart of the dive community also came forward to
support the reserve. Don Kincaid, the dive/snorkel industry representative
for the SAC, spoke eloquently in front of both the FWC and the governor and

Finally, I would like to recognize the students of Beth Pinkus at Stanley
Switlik School, who spoke in support of the reserve in front of the FWC and
the governor and Cabinet.

Their message clearly moved these officials and is perhaps the most
resounding reason to establish the reserve, "Leave something for our

I thank everyone in our community who took time out of their busy lives to
help us create the Tortugas Ecological Reserve by writing a letter,
attending a meeting or simply expressing you concerns to a member of the
Tortugas working group or the Sanctuary Advisory Council.

This broad community participation and support will ensure the reserve's
success in the years to come. All of us stand to reap the rewards.

Billy Causey
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary


Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

News Release
March 7, 2001

Tortugas Ecological Reserve Takes Effect in Federal Waters

MARATHON - After years of planning, rules designed to protect the diverse
marine life and lush coral reefs of the Tortugas in a no-take ecological
reserve take effect March 8 in federal waters of the Florida Keys National
Marine Sanctuary.

The federal portion of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve includes all of
Tortugas South (60 square nautical miles that includes the critical spawning
grounds of Riley's Hump) and 13.8 square nautical miles in the northwest
corner of Tortugas North.



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