Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
a hidden underwater treasure
National marine sanctuaries protect our nation's most important marine ecosystems, conserving the ocean and coasts for present and future generations while balancing resource protection with commercial, recreational, cultural, scientific, and educational uses. Designated on November 16, 1990, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of the marine protected areas that make up NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System.
Within the boundaries of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary lie spectacular, unique and nationally significant marine resources, including North America's only coral barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of marine life. Over the last 30 years, the sanctuary has worked tirelessly to protect the marine resources that support our economy and way of life in the Florida Keys. Click on each topic below to learn more about the history of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and to find out what is next.