Advisory Council Guiding Documents

The Sanctuary Advisory Council plays an important role in the marine zoning and regulatory review process, because its members advise the sanctuary superintendent on behalf of the Florida Keys community, interested stakeholders and resource users. To guide the review, the advisory council adopted the goals, objectives and principles below. These documents were finalized once public scoping was completed in 2012.

view of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary from the shore

Goals and Objectives for the Review

The following "Goals and Objectives for Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review" were developed and adopted by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council in draft form on December 13, 2011. The final version was adopted at the December 11, 2012 advisory council meeting.

pdf Goals and Objectives for Marine Zoning Review (184 kb).

A. To improve the diversity of natural biological communities in the Florida Keys to protect, and, where appropriate restore and enhance natural habitats, populations and ecological processes overall and in each of these sub regions Tortugas; Marquesas; Lower, Middle, and Upper Keys.
  1. Reduce stresses from human activities by establishing areas that restrict access to sensitive wildlife populations and habitats.
  2. Protect large, contiguous, diverse, and interconnected habitats that provide natural spawning, nursery, and permanent residence areas for the replenishment and genetic protection of marine life and protect and preserve all habitats and species.
  3. Improve/maintain the condition of the biologically structured habitats including:
    1. Coral Reef
      1. Inshore Patch Reef
      2. Mid-Channel Patch Reef
      3. Offshore Patch Reef
      4. Reef Margin / Fore Reef
      5. Deep Reef
    2. Seagrass Bed
    3. Hardbottom
    4. Coastal Mangrove
  4. Increase abundance and condition of selected key species including corals, queen conch, long spined sea urchin, apex predatory fish, birds, and sea turtles.
B. To facilitate to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource protection, all public and private uses of the resources of these marine areas not prohibited pursuant to other authorities.
  1. Minimize conflicts among uses compatible with the national marine sanctuary.
  2. Prevent heavy concentrations of uses that degrade sanctuary resources.
  3. Provide undisturbed monitoring sites for research and control sites to help determine the effects of human activities.
  4. Achieve a vibrant ecologically sustainable ecosystem and economy.
    1. Apply the best available science and balanced, conservation-based management.

Review Principles

The following principles were developed and adopted by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council on December 13, 2011.

pdf Principles for Marine Zoning Review (183 kb).

  • The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary regulation/zoning review should be conducted with the recognition that there are bordering and overlapping marine management regimes in place, and that these regimes must be considered when contemplating changes to the sanctuary regulation/marine zoning structure.
  • All areas of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary should be classified as part of a specific zone; therefore, the current “unzoned” area should be classified as a recognized zone type such as “general use area” or “multiple use area."
  • Each habitat type should be represented in a non-extractive marine zone in each of the biogeographically distinct sub regions of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to achieve replication. The sub regions identified were the Tortugas; Marquesas; and Lower, Middle, and Upper Keys.
  • Information on resilient reef areas that can serve as refugia should be taken into account in zoning changes.
  • Temporal zoning should be considered as a tool for protecting spawning aggregations and nesting seasons.
  • The size of individual non-extractive zoned areas, the cumulative total area included in non-extractive zones, and their spatial relationship with one another matter greatly in achieving the resource protection purposes of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Learn more and find related documents on the marine zoning and regulatory review homepage.