Sanctuary Preservation Areas

Sanctuary preservation areas (SPAs), marked by yellow buoys, protect shallow reefs that help sustain critical marine species throughout different life stages. SPAs help reduce conflicts between uses, and protect areas of important marine species or habitats. Diving, snorkeling, and boating are allowed inside these zones. The sanctuary maintains a network of mooring buoys so boaters can visit without damaging the reef. NOAA is proposing revisions to some regulations in SPAs in order to more promote consistency and effectively address the resource protection goals that SPAs were designed to achieve. The proposed rule will also add two new SPAs, combine two existing SPAs into one, and remove two existing SPAs. The new Turtle Rocks and Turtle Shoal SPAs would protect patch reefs and provide a refuge for corals proven resilient to bleaching and disease. Watch this video to learn more about sanctuary preservation areas in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.