|The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary--
The Florida Keys are an island chain located on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, beginning 60 miles south of Miami and ending just 90 miles north of Cuba. Adjacent to the islands is the most extensive living coral reef in the United States. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) surrounds the entire island chain and includes portions of the Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to hosting an incomparable assortment of plants and animals, the FKNMS also contains many important shipwreck sites and other artifacts of South Florida's rich maritime history.
The highly productive and scenic marine ecosystem supports commercial fishing and tourism. Together, these industries almost wholly account for the economy of the Keys region. The Keys are home to 82,000 full-time residents, but tourists and seasonal residents
increase this population to almost 150,000 between November and April. Commercial fishermen haul nearly 20 million pounds of seafood every year from the waters surrounding the Keys.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1990. National Marine Sanctuaries must permit "multiple compatible use" of their resources by commercial and recreational interests as long as the activity does not threaten the basic integrity of the sites' resource values.
More information on the FKNMS can be found on the website of the The Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at http://www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/oms/omsflorida/omsflorida.html.