Photo of sky and sea with small island in mid-ground.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Management

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a special place, with spectacular and unique resources such as coral reefs, shipwrecks, seagrass beds, and fisheries that are the source of commercial and recreational activities like diving, fishing, and boating. The sanctuary was established to protect these resources. Using public input, as well as current scientific and socioeconomic data, sanctuary managers have designed projects and programs to address identified impacts, pressures, and threats.

Administered by NOAA, a federal agency within the Department of Commerce, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was created and exists under federal law. However, with 60 percent of its protected area located in Florida state waters, the sanctuary is jointly managed by NOAA and the State of Florida under a co-trustee agreement. Under this agreement, NOAA’s primary management partner is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Managing this complex system of marine and cultural resources takes public involvement, multi-faceted strategies, and numerous partners.

To learn more about the management of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, visit the pages below.

Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review

Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review
The sanctuary and its advisory council are conducting a review of sanctuary and wildlife refuge boundaries, marine zones, and regulations. More


Sanctuary Management Plan
The sanctuary management plan identifies the best and most practical projects and programs to protect the sanctuary’s resources. More

diver flag

Sanctuary Regulations
Sanctuary visitors are invited to dive, swim, snorkel, or fish; however, regulations are in place to protect sanctuary resources. More



NOAA Ship Peter Gladding

Enforcement of Sanctuary Regulations
The sanctuary has put special rules in place to protect the unique marine environment of the Florida Keys. More

diver over coral

Sanctuary Permits
Through the issuance of permits, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary can approve projects that would otherwise not be allowed because they break sanctuary regulations. More

Photo of coral reef.

Water Quality Protection Program
Good water quality is critical to the health of coral reefs and all habitats of the sanctuary. To better understand how humans impact water quality and how those changes affect sanctuary habitats, the Water Quality Protection Program was created in 1994.