Sanctuary Superintendent Statement

March 13, 2017

Media Contact:

Erica Rule

Today through April 1, a shoreline restoration effort will permanently remove up to 32 derelict vessels and their associated debris from nearshore habitats in the vicinity of the Marquesas Keys in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The derelict vessels and associated debris are impacting sensitive bird and sea turtle nesting beaches, and the hazardous materials (batteries, fuel, oil, polystyrene foam, plastic, etc.) present on the vessels constitute a threat to public health and welfare, as well as nearby fish, wildlife, and sensitive ecosystems.

Monroe County Marine Resources Office and the Sanctuary awarded a contract to Coffin Marine Services to complete the removal, using Monroe County Boating Improvement Funds, which are generated from recreational vessel registration fees, and Sanctuary Damage Assessment and Restoration Revolving Funds, which are recovered from incidents involving injuries to Sanctuary resources.

The removal of these vessels would not be possible without the commitment and coordination provided by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, United States Coast Guard Sector Key West, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Florida Coastal Management Program, and Monroe County Marine Resources Office.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, sea grass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats, as well as shipwrecks and maritime heritage resources. NOAA and the state of Florida manage the sanctuary. Visit us at, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join NOAA on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.