North America’s only living coral barrier reef (the world’s third largest) and one of the most popular diving destinations, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) supports the region’s success in global tourism. Ocean-related activities connected to the Sanctuary bring the local economy more than $4.4 Billion in annual revenue and over 70,000 jobs.
World-class diving, swimming, fishing, boating and other sports draw visitors to the sanctuary. It is also home to over 6000 species of marine life, fisheries, extensive seagrass beds and archeological treasures. The Sanctuary approach to sustainable tourism – conserving the site because of, and for, its use – is the key to its continuing popularity and economic importance.
Beyond its recreation riches, Florida Keys NMS offers innovative education programs, citizen science, volunteer opportunities and high-tech research and conservation work. More than 72,000 people annually visit its Eco-Discovery Center, a 6000-square-foot interactive learning experience for all ages. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s first capital campaign provided the exhibits for the Center when it opened in 2007 and we continue to support its management.
Florida Keys NMS experts are using sound science and state-of-the-art technologies to preserve sanctuary resources and produce research with global impact. The Foundation supports many of these activities including installation of mooring buoys that prevent harm to the corals reefs, the backbone of the local economy, and coral nursery. The Foundation also sponsors the Sanctuary’s Lionfish Derby, a community event that helps remove the invasive predator from local waters and clean the reefs while providing scientists with invaluable data to aid control strategies.
Related Links :Florida Keys NMS Website