FKNMSFlorida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
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The FKNMS is scheduled to roll out proposals for changes later this year.
Many of the habits and practices that are now accepted in the Keys, and really considered customary, such as the prohibition of jet skis in the backcountry (circa early 1990s) and the mooring buoys at popular reef diving spots, all came out of the last FKNMS regulations review more than 20 years ago.
"People should look at this as at least a 10-year plan," said Sean Morton, Sanctuary Supervisor and Manager of the FKNMS. "It's taking about 5 years, and if it's implemented in 2017, that'll be 20 years since the first plan was put in place.
The FKNMS is now working on formulating those ideas--more than 200 items--to create a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) later this year, which will include scientific and economic analysis of the items.
"Right now, the plan is to discuss options with the Advisory Council in December and then come back to the Council with the economic/environmental analysis and potential alternatives probably mid-2014," said Sean Morton, superintendent of the FKNMS. He added that information on the status of the process is at
The FKNMS, designated in 1990, encompasses 2,896 square nautical miles and 60 percent of it lies within state waters.
Many sources also share a concern that the FKNMS has already bitten off more than it can chew.
The FKNMS's massive 2,800-square-nautical miles completely encompasses the Keys and outlying waters; the SAFMC oversees fisheries starting three nautical miles off the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Key West.
Just such a nag exited the stable in 2008 in the form of a petition to site yet another reef location in the FKNMS that would allow diving and ban fishing.
"Sean said it's a two-to three-year process," said Grollimund, referring to FKNMS Superintendent Sean Morton.
That issue can lead to deep-rooted resentment such as happened in the FKNMS management plan in the mid-1990s largely because of proposed NFZs.