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Florida Keys Synchronized Coral Reef Spawning Creates New Life

Divers interested in viewing the underwater phenomenon of coral spawning can join Florida Keys dive operators during select Coral Reef Spawning charters — twilight trips to shallow reefs on or around the full moons in August and September to watch the reproductive action along the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef. Scientifically observed…

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Reef-Wide Outplanting of Corals Begins in Florida Coral Reefs

FWC, DEP, and our coral reef restoration partners announce the recent successful outplanting of 1,152 coral colonies along the Florida Coral Reefs as part of the largest coordinated experimental outplanting effort in Florida to date.  Reef restoration experiments in Florida have never been replicated on such a large scale before, with 24 outplanting sites spanning from…

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Lower Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival Make Waves for Reef Protection

Divers and snorkelers can explore a portion of the continental United States’ only coral barrier reef while enjoying an Underwater Music Festival that promotes reef preservation Saturday, July 10, in the Lower Florida Keys. The 37th annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, a melodic experience that spotlights environmentally responsible diving as well as reef protection,…

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Western Dry Rocks New Regulations Beginning 4-1-21

Effective April 1, 2021, regulation changes will go into effect at Western Dry Rocks that prohibit fishing from April 1 – July 31. These changes are aimed at providing benefits for multiple recreationally and commercially important species that aggregate to spawn at Western Dry Rocks, including permit, mutton snapper, gray snapper, and yellowtail snapper. The…

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USGS Study on Elkhorn Coral Restoration in the Dry Tortugas

Nursery-grown elkhorn coral transplanted into Dry Tortugas National Park survived and thrived, growing twice as fast as corals planted in other locations in the Florida Keys, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in Endangered Species Research. USGS researchers are studying the growth and success of nursery-grown transplanted corals in the Florida Keys; research…

NOAA Expands Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

NOAA is expanding Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary from approximately 56 square miles to approximately 160 square miles to protect additional important Gulf of Mexico habitat. The move builds upon the sanctuary’s rich 30-year history of scientific studies and public review of the preservation of this special place. The expansion adds 14 additional reefs and banks…

Seaweed-Munching Caribbean King Crab Could Help Save Coral Reefs

Caribbean King crab could help save threatened coral reefs by keeping excessive seaweed growth under control, a promising new study claims. Experiments on the Florida Keys showed the Caribbean king crab is better than other species at removing overgrown seaweeds that threaten the reefs, by eating it. When introduced to experimental plots on coral reefs, the greedy…

This scientific breakthrough could jumpstart the revival of Florida Keys Reef

Coral researchers have been working hard to learn more about how coral functions — especially how it reproduces — to help save it. Recently scientists turned their focus to ridged cactus corals, a species pulled from the reef in 2014 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries when it was threatened by…

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Coral Spawn Late Summer Circle of Life Florida Keys Reefs

The hard corals of the Florida Keys reefs have spent eons developing a simple system to perpetuate the species. Coral Spawn, it’s one of nature’s mysteries that works without human intervention or complete understanding. The coral spawn is scientifically observed and documented each year along the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, which…

Ballast Water Could Be Driving Spread Of Coral Disease

Ballast Water Could Be Driving Spread Of Coral Disease

Scientists investigating a devastating new coral disease infecting reefs from Florida to and throughout the Caribbean may be zeroing in on a culprit behind the unpredictable spread: ballast water from big ships. Investigators are now poring over shipping records housed at the Smithsonian to confirm the connection and better contain it. “This thing has now…

Win a Florida Keys Superfan Coral Reef Restoration Eco-Adventure
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Win a Florida Keys Superfan Coral Reef Restoration Eco-Adventure

For travelers seeking “voluntourism” opportunities to help sustain the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, the “Florida Keys Superfan” eco-adventure giveaway offers an enticing prize. One entrant is to win a five-night vacation that includes accommodations, eco-attractions and diving experiences to plant corals. The winner is to discover how divers can serve as…

Sea Urchins To The Rescue Help Revive Ailing Reefs
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Sea Urchins To The Rescue Help Revive Ailing Reefs

University of Florida researchers at The Florida Aquarium have begun breeding long-spined sea urchins to help Florida’s ailing reefs recover. NOAA Florida has an underappreciated secret weapon to help heal its ailing reefs: prickly sea urchins. This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration unveiled a $97 million rescue effort expected to take five to seven years….

REEF Fest 2019 October 17-20 Key Largo
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REEF Fest 2019 October 17-20 Key Largo

REEF Fest 2019 registration is now available! Book diving and snorkeling, register for events, and purchase your ticket to ‘For the Love of the Sea’ banquet online today! REEF Fest is an annual, four-day celebration to acknowledge the success of marine conservation and education initiatives in the Florida Keys. Events include educational seminars, social gatherings, diving and eco-adventures…

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FKNMS Lionfish Removal Permits

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary encourages the safe removal of invasive lionfish from its waters and issues lionfish removal permits to divers for the collection of lionfish from Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs). The permit allows lionfish to be removed from the SPAs, which are otherwise no-fishing, no-take zones, with hand nets or slurp guns only. Spearguns or…

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Report Wildlife Violations Incidents or Observations

Having extra eyes on the water can help law enforcement, aid in the rescue of distressed people or wildlife, and even support research on rare and unusual marine events. Report Wildlife Violations. It is always best when the individual witnessing an incident makes the phone call directly, so that the agency receiving the report can…