NOAA seeks comments on Florida Keys conservation

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NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is seeking public comment to guide a review of the sanctuary’s marine zones - areas set aside for specific uses - and regulations that will shape Florida Keys marine conservation for the next 20 years.

Public comments are being accepted through June 29 and during five meetings from June 19-27 in South Florida and the Florida Keys.

The marine zoning and regulatory review is a multiyear public process to determine whether existing sanctuary boundaries, regulations and marine zones are sufficient to address threats to marine resources and whether new or expanded protection strategies are warranted to better address these threats, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The Florida Keys economy and quality of life are directly tied to the health of the marine environment,” sanctuary superintendent Sean Morton said in a statement. “Research shows that additional management efforts might be required to address degraded resource conditions. We want to hear recommendations and concerns from boaters, anglers, divers, residents and visitors and enlist their help in shaping resource management decisions for the future.”

Public meetings are scheduled for:

• June 19: Marathon: Monroe County Government Center, Emergency Operations Center

• June 20: Key Largo: Key Largo Library

• June 21: Key West: Doubletree Grand Key Resort, Tortuga Ballroom

• June 26: Miami: Florida International University, Graham University Center, Room GC243

• June 27: Fort Myers: Joseph P. Alessandro Office Complex, Rooms 165 C and D

    Comments can be submitted online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (Docket Number NOAA-NOS-2012-0061) until June 29.

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