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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
January 2012
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


Donate Now!
Our dedicated Board of Directors, members and allies are committed to guaranteeing the future of our economically-precious treasures that are in critical danger here in the Keys. Please join us as a member, renew your membership or consider volunteering with us in 2012.

Lionfish Harvesting and Safe Handling

FWC encourages divers and anglers to remove lionfish, which can help Florida's native marine fish and habitats. Lionfish are classified as an invasive species that are non-native to Florida waters. They can be speared, caught in hand-held nets or caught on hook and line.
There are no size or bag limits up to a total catch weight of 100 pounds; however, you must have a recreational fishing license. You can apply for a Florida saltwater fishing license (resident) online for only $17 a year. Exemptions apply for children under 16, seniors over 65 and the disabled. To harvest more than 100 pounds or to sell lionfish, a saltwater products license is required.
Lionfish (photo credit: NOAA)
General saltwater regulations apply to the harvest of all marine species, including lionfish. These regulations prohibit the use of certain gear such as explosives, fish traps and certain nets, or a rebreather. A permit is required to harvest lionfish in the no-take zones of the FKNMS. Permits are issued by the Sanctuary following training given by the Sanctuary and the REEF.
Divers should know the rules for using spears. Spears may NOT be used: •Within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed; •Within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea - except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline; •Anywhere in Collier County, nor in the area of Monroe County from Long Key north to the Miami-Dade County line; •In any body of water under the jurisdiction of the DEP or Florida Park Service. Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored. •Harvest by other means, such as hand-held nets, is allowed in all of these situations.
Lionfish should be handled carefully; they have venom glands on the dorsal, pelvic and anal spines. Unless a person is allergic to the venom, lionfish stings are very rarely fatal. Stings can be very painful, cause numbness, swelling and even temporary paralysis. Treat a puncture wound by immediately immersing the wounded area in hot (not scalding) water for 30-90 minutes and seeking medical attention. The Poison Help Hotline, 800-222-1222, is available 24 hours a day, every day. Report a lionfish sighting.

Damaged Coral Reef Makes Recovery

Corals damaged in 2002 when a boat ran aground in the FKNMS are now thriving following a restoration and near decade-long monitoring effort, according to a new NOAA report released last month. Hundreds of groundings happen in the sanctuary each year, and conservationists are hoping that this reef-restoration and monitoring effort will help inform future endeavors.
Thriving restored corals in 2010 (photo credit: NOAA)
In August 2002, the 36-foot long boat Lagniappe II ran aground on a shallow coral reef near Key West, damaging approximately 376 square-feet of living coral in the sanctuary. After sanctuary staff assessed the damage to the reef, restoration biologists used special cement that hardens under water to reattach 473 corals and coral fragments that had been toppled or dislodged during the grounding. The main coral species damaged was boulder star coral, a primary reef-building coral in the Florida Keys.
Researchers monitored the progress of the restoration by using digital photos and highly-specialized computer software to count the types and number of coral species in the damaged areas, as well as a nearby undamaged site that served as a point of comparison. Biologists could then compare the restoration area with the reference area and note changes over time.
The sanctuary tracked the coral recovery for eight years. By 2009, the reattached coral fragments were undistinguishable from the adjacent uninjured coral colonies. A year later, the amount of coral at the restoration site was higher than at the reference site.
Most vessel groundings are preventable through preparation, patience and experience. A boat hitting the reef can topple coral heads or grind coral colonies into tiny fragments, damaging and killing coral that may have taken centuries to build. The owner of Lagniappe II paid more than $56,000 in a negotiated settlement. Those funds were used to pay for response, damage assessment, monitoring and some restoration costs.

Partnership with Marathon Bio-Diesel

Sanctuary Friends has partnered with Marathon Bio-Diesel in an effort to reduce diesel use and greenhouse gas emissions in our fragile Florida Bay and Atlantic Ocean environment. The use of diesel in vehicles and vessels is a major contributor of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which scientists are convinced is a major element contributing to climate change and ocean acidification.
Marathon Bio-Diesel Owner Jeff Lillie
Marathon Bio-Diesel owner Jeff Lillie is a former commercial fisherman and has invested his life savings into this environmentally-friendly business. He has the only ASTM Certified waste vegetable oil (WVO) cleaning machine in South Florida.
WVO produced as a byproduct of frying food is cleaned locally by Marathon Bio-Diesel to produce clean burning biodiesel fuel. Tens of thousands of gallons of cooking oil is shipped into the Keys annually for cooking and then hauled out of the Keys by diesel-burning trucks to be shipped overseas. There is demand in the Keys for biodiesel for use in local vehicles, commercial fishing boats and charter boats. This means the cooking oil used in the Keys will be turned into the clean burning biodiesel used in the Keys, and with your help, eliminating excess waste.
Individuals can donate used cooking oil to Marathon Bio-Diesel by dropping it off at their location at 2 Coco Plum Drive in Marathon. If you are a business, Marathon Bio-Diesel can gladly pick up your WVO, and Sanctuary Friends can, in turn, give you a valuable tax credit from our nonprofit organization for your donation. Please click here to see how the tax credit works.
Anything we can do as residents and business owners living in one of the most environmentally-sensitive ecosystems in the world to reduce our carbon footprint is a major contribution to our future. Thank you for your help!


Global Coral Repository: A Coral Bank for Reef Restoration

Coral reefs are one of the fastest failing ecosystems on the planet. As such, Dr. Craig Downs of the non-profit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory has created The Global Coral Repository, a seed bank for restoring coral reefs. The organization’s mission is to restore degraded and destroyed reefs across the world.
They plan to accomplish this goal by cryo-preserving and archiving every coral species on the planet, as well as important regional and local genotypes, using award-winning technology developed specifically for this purpose. The cryo-archived samples can then be used to propagate and restore degraded coral reefs once water quality has returned to levels productive to coral sustainability. When the project is complete, organizers hope to have been able to preserve the planet’s entire stock of coral biodiversity for future generations.
The Global Coral Repository was a formed as a partnership among Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, Zoological Society of London, and Oxford University. For more information, please visit

Coral Habitat Preserved in Broward County

More than 200 coral colonies living on a utility pipeline in Broward County will be removed and transplanted to protect vital marine life habitats while remedial work is undertaken on the pipeline’s protective cover, which was damaged during recent dredging operations. This is a delicate operation as the coral colonies have been growing on the outflow pipe for more than 20 years and have matured into a vital part of the ecosystem for hundreds of fish species and marine invertebrates.
Scientists have developed a specific Coral Relocation, Monitoring, and Compensatory Mitigation Plan as a guide for the work to make sure that the position of each coral is accurately logged so it can be returned to the same spot from which it came. The translocation process involves the removal of a variety of coral species – including Acropora coral – from a 1,500-foot section of the pipeline sitting in more than 20 feet of water off the shoreline. Once removed, the coral colonies will remain in their temporary location until pipeline’s protective cover has been reinforced with concrete mats. The corals will then be reattached using a cement mix developed for coral.
Atkins’ scientific dive team will oversee the project, commissioned by Broward County in coordination with the Florida DEP and National Marine Fisheries Service.

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In This Issue:
From the Board
Harvesting Lionfish
Damaged Corals Recover
Marathon Bio-Diesel
Upcoming Events

From the Board

Dear Friends,
I just returned from a week in Tallahassee. The agenda: Everglades Water Supply Summit and the Governor addressing our county's wastewater progress.
What can I say other than “WOW!” The Everglades Foundation knows how to make your toes tingle and put on a summit. While there, David Rice (Sanctuary Friends Board Member and Monroe County Mayor), Howard Kessler from Wakulla County and I presented the $5,000 check from Sanctuary Friends to The Everglades Foundation. (More about that in next month’s newsletter.)
It was encouraging to see Governor Scott and two Cabinet members attend this important meeting. The Governor’s comments give me hope that he "gets it." Adam Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, indicated he feels the state should take ownership of the Everglades Restoration Project and see this National Treasure restored with or without help from the Federal Government. Amen to that.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we lobbied our state legislators for Sanctuary Friends, Everglades restoration and Monroe County. I passed out our “Decade in Review” and signed Stephen Frink calendars to anyone who would slow down to listen, which included the Governor and Cabinet. We also met with House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos on funding for Monroe County wastewater. Mayor Rice and I walked away encouraged; time will tell if our feelings were correct.
George Neugent, Chair

Upcoming Events

Please add your upcoming events to our online Florida Keys Environmental Calendar. This community-wide resource allows any organization or group to set up an account and post environmentally-related events.

Friends in Focus Lecture: Martin Moe, "The Tale of the Spiny Lobster"
Feb. 2, 7:00 pm, Sail & Power Squadron Education Building, 12 Loggerhead Lane, Marathon. Social begins at 6:30 pm.
The Florida Caribbean Spiny lobster supports one of the most important commercial and sport fisheries in Florida, as well as throughout the tropical western Atlantic region. The life cycle of the spiny lobsters is one of the most complex of all the decapod crustaceans. Join us and find out why the tale of the Spiny Lobster is more than a tail.

Friends in Focus Film: "The Key West Picture Show"
Feb. 8, 7 pm, Sail & Power Squadron Education Building, 12 Loggerhead Lane, Marathon. Social begins at 6:30 pm.
"The Key West Picture Show" is a fast-paced satire of the 1950s travelogues, exploring the unconventional island with honesty and humor. Hear the natives tell about life, death, art, architecture, tourists and sex drive in the tropics! Part of a monthly film series sponsored by Sanctuary Friends and the Marathon Sail & Power Squadron that revolves around marine life and diving.

REEF, Fish & Friends Seminar
Feb. 14, 7 pm, REEF Headquarters, MM 98.3, Key Largo. Social begins at 6:30 pm.
Free lectures about fish on the second Tuesday of the month sponsored by REEF and Sanctuary Friends. Topic TBA.

FKNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) Meeting
Feb. 21, 9 am, Marathon Garden Club, 5270 Overseas Highway, Marathon
The Council provides advice regarding management of the FKNMS. All meetings are open to the public and include morning and afternoon public comment periods. More information and agenda.

Environmental Film Series
Every Sunday at 2 pm & 4 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
The 4 pm show is new each week and is repeated the following week at 2 pm. For a recorded message of upcoming films, call 305-809-4755.

The Delicate Balance of Nature Lecture Series
Every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. until March 28, Pennekamp State Park Visitor Center, MM 102.5.
Park gate opens at 7 p.m. Free admission; seating is limited. Download the list of speakers and topics. For more information, call 305-451-9570.

Membership Update
December 2011 / January 2012
Welcome & thank you for your support!
New Members ($30-$100) 
Mike Klayman
Joseph F. Aucremanne
Peter Frazza
Marcel Damiecki
William and Sue Brown
R.L. Blazevic
Joseph Uricchio
Harvey and Elsie Pastan
Jeffery E. Fisher
Joanne St. Thomas
Patty and Joe Ivey
David and Lynne Brooks
Lisa R. Carstarphen
Robert A. Eichholtz, Jr.
Benefactors ($200+)
Richard S. Worthington
Robert Quill
Bruce Frerer
Matthew Forelli
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shumway
Charles Causey
Michael Fimiani

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Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef ecosystem, from the uplands to the deep sea. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Hwy., Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
PO Box 504301
Suite 102
Marathon, FL 33050

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