The National Marine Sanctuary System has been protecting the Florida Keys since the establishment of Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1975, which was designed to complement the existing John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Soon, protections extended to Looe Key reef in the lower Florida Keys. In 1990, Congress designated all of the waters surrounding the Florida Keys as a National Marine Sanctuary.
Throughout this long history, there have been a great number of ocean heroes who have worked to ensure the resources of the Florida Keys are available for sustainable use today and for future generations. Among these voices are scientists, divers, anglers, boaters, and conservationists. Read on to learn more from each person about their personal connections to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.