Expand Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Protect the Gulf of Mexico’s “Flower Garden Banks”!
The Flower Garden Banks were first discovered by snapper and grouper fishermen. They named the banks after the sponges, plants, and other marine life they could see on the colorful reefs below their boats. Building on more than three decades of scientific exploration, and public calls for additional protections as well as extensive coordination with the Sanctuary Advisory Council, NOAA is considering expanding the boundaries of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to include 14 additional reefs and banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. These reefs and banks provide important habitat for recreationally and commercially important fish, as well as endangered and protected species of whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and corals.
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary includes some of the healthiest and most resilient coral reef communities in the entire Caribbean and western Atlantic region. The sanctuary would expand from 56 square miles to 160 square miles. Sanctuary management would extend to these areas providing additional protections limiting the destructive impact of activities related to fishing with bottom-tending gear, ship anchoring damage, oil and gas exploration and production, and salvage activities on sensitive biological resources.
NOAA is inviting the public to make your voice heard on any aspect of the expansion proposal between now and July 3, 2020. NOAA will also host virtual meetings where you can learn more about the proposal and submit oral comments.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD – SUPPORT EXPANSION OF FLOWER GARDEN BANKS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY TODAY!
Deadline to comment: Friday, July 3