Ocean Frontiers: An Ocean Blueprint for Florida Keys

In the Florida Keys, divers and fishermen have turned controversy over marine resources into a blueprint for industry and conservation collaboration.

The coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are America’s most popular marine destination—bringing in 1.2 billion dollars every year via tourism. They are also America’s showcase of marine conservation zoning.  With a dizzying array of people making a living and playing in the Keys, the marine zones provide an effective way to reduce conflicts between ocean users and protect the reefs, the fisheries and ocean dependent jobs.

The management of the Sanctuary is overseen by a Sanctuary Advisory Council, which is made up of more than 30 organizations and industries including sport and commercial fishing, tourism, diving, research, restoration and conservation.  The Sanctuary provides refuge, recreation, and livelihoods through a collaborative plan developed by all concerned.

However, the road to the Keys management success has not been a smooth ride. Initially there was strong opposition to marine zoning, marine protected areas and marine reserves, but strong leadership and intensive stakeholder collaboration turned the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary into a world-renowned model of how to protect our coastal and ocean economies through ocean planning.

Learn More from the People Featured in Ocean Frontiers


Video Clips

  • Saving My Town’s Ocean Economy – Leesa Cobb, Fisherman’s wife and Executive Director of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team visits the Florida Keys National Marne Sanctuary to see first hand how commercial and recreational fishermen and ocean businesses in general thrive in a Marine Sanctuary.