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One action you can take NOW to save our coral reefs

  • Life in the Florida Keys depends on a healthy ocean with thriving coral reefs.

  • But, despite best efforts, our coral reefs are disappearing before our eyes.

  • Without these reefs, our economy and livelihoods are under threat.

  • The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has released a new series of plans to prevent the permanent loss of the marine life that supports lives and livelihoods in the Florida Keys.

  • These plans needs your support, today.

Dead corals decay off the Florida Keys. This is what 98% of the Florida Reef Tract currently looks like.

Hurricanes, coral bleaching, disease, and heavy recreational use have led to a catastrophic decline in our coral reefs. Without corals, there would be no fish, no lobster, no turtles, and therefore, no diving, no snorkeling, no fishing.

We now have just two percent coral cover left in the Keys.

In order to save our community we need to take action, today, to protect and restore life along the Florida Reef Tract. The most important thing you can do today is to lend your support to the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary's Restoration Blueprint.

We’re watching our reefs disappear before our eyes, and along with them, our livelihoods.

Continuing with our current management plan is not an option if we want to save our community.

The new Restoration Blueprint is our chance to save our reefs and make sure that our children and grandchildren will be able to thrive in the Keys. They deserve to live the Keys life that we’ve had the chance to live. They deserve to earn a living from a healthy ocean. They deserve more than we’re giving them right now.

Pickles Reef before (left) and after (right) an anchor dropped and dragged over the reef causing catastrophic damage.

The proposed plans will not stop us from using our waters for things like fishing or diving.

They will help us protect our reefs, mangroves, and backcountry to make sure we can continue these activities in the future. Without action, our reefs, and therefore our fish and lobster, will be gone within the next few decades.

The proposed plans recommend actions like:

  • Creating areas where boats cannot drop anchor on critical ecosystems. When anchors are dropped, critical ecosystems like coral reefs and seagrass beds face irrecoverable destruction.

  • Reducing vessel speeds in protected areas to help prevent collision with valuable marine life like manatees and turtles.

  • Expanding protected areas to include Coral Restoration Foundation™ nurseries and restoration sites.

  • Incentivizing dive operators to become Blue Star Operators with special access to protected areas. Blue Star Operators are dedicated to education and habitat conservation, ultimately preserving our reefs and marine life for the future.

These plans do not come from the Federal Government level, they come from our community. From the people who have given their lives to Keys, and who have invested everything in the place we call home. It’s our economy that’s facing collapse, so it’s our job to take action. 

We desperately need your help. We need you to raise your voice in support of these efforts to save the Keys' precious marine ecosystems from extinction. 

Please take a moment to submit comments of support through the online portal at (docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0094). We desperately need positive voices to outweigh the negative, which can often be the loudest.

With immediate action, there is still hope for our coral reefs. Here is a healthy, restored coral colony on Carysfort Reef.

If you’d like to show your support in-person, please attend the next public Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting on December 10, 2019, at the Islander Resort in Islamorada where you can give official oral and written comments in support of greater protection for our waters.

We have until January 10th, 2020 to submit public comments.

Please take a moment to help the Keys keep our reputation as one of the world’s premier destinations for diving, snorkeling, and fishing. Please submit your comments of support through the online portal at (docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0094).

We desperately need to support the Sanctuary's efforts, which could be our last chance to save the Florida Reef Tract.

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Healthy reefs are not only part of the life-blood of the Florida Keys, they are also an essential element of keeping our oceans AND planet thriving. I am proud of the work that the Coral Restoration Foundation is doing. Keep it up!

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