November 16, 2022
A string of tarpon in the Florida Keys. Photo: Marty Dashiell
BTT is working in close collaboration with the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association (FKFGA) and the Lower Keys Guides Association (LKGA) to support a set of science-based recommendations for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) Restoration Blueprint. The coalition’s recommendations underscore the critical importance of habitat, water quality and enforcement—all to ensure that our shallow water habitats are adequately protected while also ensuring responsible access. In total, these recommendations would increase seagrass and hard bottom protections in the Middle Keys by 2029 and 397 acres respectively.
For Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) that the coalition supports as proposed by the FKNMS, the coalition’s overall recommendation is for responsible access that provides enhanced habitat protection. For WMAs, the coalition recommends that the “no entry” zoning proposed by the FKNMS be adjusted to 300’ as “no motor” zones, with 50’ “no entry” buffers that allow casting into them unless science suggests they are active bird colonies or nesting areas.
Middle Keys Management Area
The Middle Keys, which span from Craig Key to the south end of Seven Mile Bridge, are vital to our tarpon fishery. However, tarpon are stressed by jet skis and other marine activities while they rest and when they swim along their migration pathways. The coalition’s recommendations for the Middle Keys are presented on this map and would protect essential tarpon habitats through marine zoning and reduce the impact of increasing marine use on the flats fishery. The recommendations include:
Recommendations for new zones or the expansion of FKNMS Restoration Blueprint zones are labeled on the map. To learn more, Click Here to read BTT’s comments on the FKNMS Restoration Blueprint. Click Here to read BTT, FKFGA, and LKGA’s Summary of Recommendations for FKNMS.
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