Key Largo Existing Management Area

The waters off Key Largo are home to some of the nation’s finest coral reefs. Known for stands of elkhorn and large mounds of star and brain corals, these reefs have been an example of marine protected areas for decades.

In 1960, the State of Florida dedicated the Atlantic waters off Key Largo as John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, extending protection from nearshore waters out to the seaward edge of the bank reefs. In 1974, the state sea limit changed to three nautical miles offshore, prompting the federal designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1975.

When Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary's regulations were implemented in 1997, the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary was redesignated as a 103 square nautical mile Existing Management Area. With this new status came added conservation measures through the creation of six Sanctuary Preservation Areas spanning from Carysfort south to Molasses Reef.

Special regulations apply here. Learn more about what activities are allowed in this type of zone.