On May 15, 2013, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) Superintendent Morton addressed the Florida Boating Advisory Council on the ongoing marine zoning and regulatory review process in the FKNMS. In his detailed presentation, the Superintendent explained that the review process is part of an effort to update regulations in the FKNMS and address perceived resource protection and user conflict issues. The current schedule envisions the development of a draft Environmental Impact Statement by Spring 2014 and revised Sanctuary regulations in 2015.
The forthcoming management revisions have the potential to impact recreational boating and public access in one of Florida’s most popular boating destinations. The FKNMS stretches from Biscayne Bay National Park southwest to the Dry Tortugas National Park, and it encompasses 2,900 square nautical miles. NOAA, in coordination with federal and state partners, has implemented an extensive management plan, zoning scheme, and regulations since 1997.