Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Note: The data were entered in the language of the country of origin (English, French or Spanish) and there is no translation available yet.


a - Legal and policy framework (attach in Annex a copy of original texts, and indicate, if possible, the IUCN status)

National status of your protected area:

National Marine Sanctuary Act
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act
Federal Register Notice: FKNMS Final Rule
Amendment: The Area to be Avoided
No-Discharge Zone
No-Discharge Zone Fact Sheet
Federal Register Notice: Technical Corrections and Minor Substantive Changes
Sanctuary Wide Regulations
Regulations by Zone
Tortugas Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Final Supplemental Management Plan (SEIS/SMP)
Federal Register Notice Vol. 66, No. 11, 15 CFR Part 922
Anchoring on Tortugas Bank
FSEIS Executive Summary

IUCN status (please tick the appropriate column if you know the IUCN category of your PA):


b - Management structure, authority

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

c - Functional management body (with the authority and means to implement the framework)

Description of the management authority

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a Federal agency, has been assigned responsibility for managing the nations thirteen National Marine Sanctuaries and has developed regulations uniquely suited to protect the resources at each sanctuary.

Means to implement the framework

The National Marine Sanctuaries Act [pdf] (NMSA) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate and protect areas of the marine environment with special national significance due to their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, cultural, archeological, educational, or esthetic qualities as national marine sanctuaries.

Day-to-day management of national marine sanctuaries has been delegated by the Secretary of Commerce to NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program (program).

The primary objective of the NMSA is to protect marine resources, such as coral reefs, sunken historical vessels or unique habitats. The NMSA provides several tools for protecting designated national marine sanctuaries. For example—

The NMSA provides the program with the authority to issue regulations for each sanctuary and the system as a whole. These regulations can, among other things, specify the types of activities that can and cannot occur within the sanctuary. [See section 308 of the NMSA.]

d - Objectives (clarify whether prioritized or of equal importance)

Objective Top priority Comment
Zoning No
Regulations for each zone No
Governing body(ies) No

e - Brief description of management plan (attach in Annex a copy of the plan)

Formal management plan documents that describes in detail the management framework of the sanctuary have been published: http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/management/welcome.html
Formulation and approval of the management framework. Mention how the management framework was formulated, e.g. by an expert team and /or under consultation and/or participation with other institutions or stakeholders. State the legal status of the management framework, whether it is officialized, and how, and if it is binding for other institutions and
sectors involved in the area.
The establishment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) began with an act of the US Congress in 1990. What followed was a vigorous designation process that culminated in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Florida jointly undertaking the implementation of the sanctuary in 1997. This resulted in the first marine area in the US to embrace management at the ecosystem scale and to implement a network of restricted-use zones in the ocean. This initial zoning plan was modified through a public comment process.
This first phase of the sanctuary’s designation gave sanctuary staff and its Advisory Council the experience necessary to achieve an even greater success in designating the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, which adjoins the western boundary of the sanctuary. At the center of this effort was the Tortugas 2000 Working Group. This body was composed of representatives from user and conservation groups as well as government agencies. Its purpose was to reach consensus on the boundaries and regulations for the Reserve.
In a series of meetings, detailed spatial patterns of the Tortugas marine environments and their uses by fishers and divers were presented. Based on these data, several boundary and zoning alternatives were compiled by sanctuary staff and debated by the Working Group. Consensus was reached on a preferred alternative in May 1999, and this preferred plan was recommended to NOAA for implementation.

Management plan - date of publication

: 12/1/07

Management plan duration

: not specified

Date of Review planned

: not specified