Keys Fishing Zones Under Review – Community Meetings This Month

Anglers hoist up a nice-sized lower keys permit for the camera.

People who care about fishing in the Keys will want to pay attention to the meetings upcoming in September, held the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS).

From the FKNMS press release: “The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council’s Ecosystem Protection Working Group is hosting regional public meetings to facilitate information exchange and solicit region and site-specific input from the community, as part of the Sanctuary’s ongoing Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review. This input will help inform the development of management recommendations and shape Florida Keys marine conservation for the future.”

The current review of resources in the Keys, including common fishing areas, is a years-long process that may well result in serious alterations to how we all think about fishing off the Keys’ island chain.

The news release continues: “Members of the advisory council and working group are seeking input on the working group’s objectives, which include: evaluate existing marine zones, recommend zone modifications to ensure protection of diversity of marine resources, consider temporal zoning to address seasonal impacts, and ensure that marine zones promote sustainable use of resources while protecting diverse habitats and their ecosystem functions.” The full working group objectives may be found at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/review/reserves.html.

Each evening meeting will include two sessions with the same format and agenda — 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. — and provide an overview of the process, round-table discussions, and information on how to stay engaged. The full meeting agenda may be found at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/review/documents/201309xxepregionalagenda.pdf.

Middle Keys Regional Input
September 23, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Key Colony Beach City Hall
600 West Ocean Drive
Key Colony Beach, FL 33051

Upper Keys Regional Input
September 24, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Hilton Key Largo Resort
97000 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037

Lower Keys Regional Input
September 25, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Doubletree Grand Key Resort
3990 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL 33040

Marquesas Tortugas Regional Input
September 26, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Doubletree Grand Key Resort
3990 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL 33040

All meetings are posted to the Sanctuary’s online events calendar found at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/visitor_information/events.html.

There will be additional opportunities for public comment as the Sanctuary Advisory Council proceeds with the development of recommendations for environmental and socioeconomic analysis. The public is encouraged to sign up for the email list of the Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review to stay informed of meetings and public input opportunities. Sign up at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/review/email-list.html.

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