SS1.10 Marine Protected Areas: Critical tools for Marine Biodiversity Conservation
Date: Monday, June 10, 2002
Time: 4:00:00 PM
Location: Esquimalt
 
BrockRJ, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), Office of Science and Technology, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, Robert.Brock@noaa.gov
Culhane, B, , Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, Environmental Compliance Branch, Homestead, Florida, USA, brien_culhane@nps.gov
 
DEVELOPING A ‘NO TAKE’ RESEARCH NATURAL AREA AT DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK (DRTO), FLORIDA: THE WHY, WHERE, HOW, AND MANDATES TO DO SO
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Over 99% of DRTO's 160-square kilometers consists of shallow (<20m) tropical waters renowned for its lush seagrass meadows, coral reefs, abundant fisheries, and cultural resources. Although remotely located (112 km seaward of Key West), visitation to DRTO increased 400% between 1994 and 2000 and the number of registered boats in the Florida Keys increased 50% during the 1990's. A retrospective alalysis of reef fisheries data collected from 1979 to 1996 clearly showed evidence of overfishing in the Tortugas region. Between 1999 and 2000, a team of interagency scientists concluded that some species may only be 5%-10% of their historical spawning averages. As DRTO was established to ‘preserve and protect an unimpaired, intact coral reef ecosystem,’ allowing the threat of these conditions to continue was clearly unacceptable. Quite frankly, DRTO could have been accused of ignoring existing laws, mandates, and enabling legislation if it did not take immediate action. This talk will describe the socioeconomic, scientific, and political process that was used to develop a politically and scientifically defensible 74-square kilometer ‘no take’ Research Natural Area at DRTO.