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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
October 2014
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


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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 volunteer with us.

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster Conducts Research in the Keys

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster recently completed a two-week mission in the FKNMS. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about fish populations and behaviors, corals and sea floor structure in Tortugas Ecological Reserve. Because of funding issues, it is only the sixth such research trip since 2005.
NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
Researchers on the mission hope to provide more data and information to justify the continuing existence of two large ecological reserves in the area and to help determine whether recommendations made last month by the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) to move the boundaries of the southern reserve are scientifically sound. Evaluation of the Dry Tortugas reserves can help make the case for the importance of other no-take zones in environmentally sensitive waters where the marine world also is battling climate change, ocean acidification and pollution. It is all part of the comprehensive review that formally began in September 2011 with a sanctuary condition report and that is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

On September 15, a group of scientists, a teacher, a marine sanctuary superintendent and two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) left Key West aboard the Nancy Foster en route to the Dry Totugas. Projects during the two weeks included fish-tagging, mapping of the sea floor for structure and fish abundance, and ROV exploration of Riley’s Hump, the deepest part of the sanctuary with a maximum depth of about 1,700 feet. The ROV can go where divers cannot. In another project, scientists went underwater to perform surgery on fish to insert acoustic tags. The information gathered during this trip will be analyzed later.

Marine Protected Areas Necessary to Balance Keys Ecosystem
by Martin Moe

The FKNMS is a blend of complex ecosystems -- the offshore spur and groove coral reefs, the shallow and deep coral patch reefs, the rubble zones, the shifting sand bottoms, the grass flats, the near shore algae flats, the intertidal zones -- and all together they create a marine tropical ecosystem unique in the continental United States. This complex interactive ecology makes up the foundation of our Sanctuary, our economy, our recreation, our very lives. We are locally and nationally charged with the conservation, the preservation and the restoration of this entire ecosystem, not just the species and areas we consider commercially and recreationally valuable.
Marine Zones of the FKNMS
We know that ecosystem management, in addition to fisheries management of species valuable to our economy, is essential for preservation and restoration of our marine fishery resources and the ecology that supports the living foundations of our marine ecosystems. Proper environmental zoning provides the structure where fisheries, recreation and a natural ecology can coexist, and will preserve the Keys ecosystems for our future and our children’s future. 
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are NOT established to directly manage the stocks of fish and invertebrates that are the basis of commercial and recreational fisheries. MPAs are established to protect and preserve the biodiversity, ecology and natural balance of marine ecosystems. The populations of commercially and recreationally valuable marine fish and invertebrates are not like products in a supermarket where the shelves are restocked whenever necessary. Supermarket products are independent of all other products, and they are restocked independently of each other. There is no ecological interaction. When peanut butter is sold out, it does not have to reproduce itself to restock the shelves; it does not have a complicated life cycle of larval, juvenile and adult stages that are both prey and predator, and where each stage must fit into a complicated relationship with thousands of other species that are part of a complex ecology developed over millions of years.

Natural living resources have to retain the biological capacity to reproduce and grow within an ecological balance. When one species is removed by disease (Diadema sea urchins, for example) or diminished by fishing pressure (spiny lobsters, for example), every other species in that ecosystem responds to the loss, sometimes dramatically, sometimes subtly; but the ecosystem changes, and not for the better. To preserve natural biodiversity and ecology and, importantly, the natural reproductive capacity of every species in a heavily exploited ecosystem, there has to be zoning that allows for economic use and undisturbed sanctuary areas where natural life cycles and biological interactions of all species can occur without human intervention that causes ecological change. As human populations increase, this was -- and is -- a hard lesson for us to learn.

The effectiveness of MPAs is well documented in worldwide scientific literature. A summary of their effectiveness was documented in a scientific survey of more than 100 marine reserves worldwide by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans. Scientists found large increases in: biomass of animals and plants, number of plants or animals, biomass and population densities of heavily fished species, body size of animals and species density.
Without effective zoning that provides for economic use under proper fisheries and usage management and MPAs of the appropriate size that will preserve the natural ecology of our marine ecosystems, our precious coral reefs and associated ecosystems will continue to decline and so will our local economy and our future in the Keys. The focus of the FKNMS and the SAC is on ecosystem preservation and restoration, not development of adverse and arbitrary laws and regulations. It is a difficult process and the input and understanding of the community is critical to its success.
This opinion column was originally published in the Florida Keys Keynoter on March 20, 2014.

Lionfish Tournament Results & Recap

Sanctuary Friends Foundation hosted its Third Annual Lionfish Tournament over Columbus Day Weekend with great success. The eight teams (five of which brought in fish) caught 369 lionfish off Florida Keys reefs and wrecks even with the windy conditions on the water! 
Top Team "Chase 'N' Tail" with their lionfish haul
The BIGGEST lionfish caught was 18½ inches! The Smallest was 3½ inches. Team Chase 'N' Tail brought in 172 lionfish to take home the top team prize over the two-day tournament.
Following the weigh-in at Captain Hook's Marina & Dive Center on Sunday, John Mirabella of Castaway Waterfront Restaurant went above and beyond for the lionfish dinner. Not only did the contestants and guests get to try fried lionfish and his National Geographic recipe "Wreck Diver Lionfish," John also brought out "King of the Jungle" lionfish sushi rolls and another new roll containing tempura lionfish.

The event raised more than $1,500 from raffles at the tasting. The raffle items were generously donated from attractions and dive shops from Tavernier to Key West.

View pictures from the weekend on Sanctuary Friends Facebook page or on the website.


Tour de Turtles Ends This Month

Tour de Turtles (TdT) is a fun, educational journey through the science, research and geography of sea turtle migration using satellite telemetry. Created by Sea Turtle Conservancy, this event follows the marathon migration of sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. This is the seventh year of the TdT and the race began in August and will end on Oct. 31, following the migration of 11 sea turtles, representing four different species. The Tour de Turtles competitors will swim with the goal of being the first turtle to swim the furthest distance during the migration marathon. 
You can get involved by supporting a turtle to help raise awareness about their cause. While we may not know the outcome of the race, one thing is certain: saving sea turtles is a marathon, not a sprint! See current tracking results here.

In This Issue:
Vessel Nancy Foster in FKNMS
MPAs Necessary
Lionfish Tournament Recap
Upcoming Events

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.

Discovery Saturday: Wrecked on the Reef
Oct. 18, 10-11 am,
 Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to join this free, fun-filled event where they will learn about the environment of the Florida Keys and the marine life that live here while playing games and making craft projects. Every third Saturday of the month. Call 305-809-4750 for more information.

FKNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) Meeting
Oct. 21, 9 am-4:45 pm, Hawk's Cay, Duck Key
The SAC provides advice regarding management of the FKNMS. All meetings are open to the public and include morning and afternoon public comment periods. This month’s topics include permitting and adaptive management, artificial habitats, water quality and coordination with fishery managers. Download the draft agenda here.

Membership Update
September 2014
Welcome! Thank you for your support!

New & Returning Members ($30-$199)

Nancy Gold



John & Arlene Mirabella

Holly Raschein

Greg Frey

Tom Davidson


Rachel Bowman

Richard Worthington

Please support the companies that support the FKNMS and Sanctuary Friends.
Waste Management
Marathon Garbage Service
Keys Sanitary
Sunbelt Rentals
Cressi International
Marathon Jet Center
Centennial Bank
First State Bank
Little Palm Island Resort
The Weekly Newspapers
Conch Color
Papa's Pilar Rum
Ocean Reef Club
Diver's Direct
Marathon Boat Yard
Grader Mike Construction
Marathon Chamber of Commerce
A Deep Blue Dive Center
Paver Dave
Keys Contracting Services
Florida Keys Contractor’s Association
Bee Brothers
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
Hard Rock Cafe
Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa
SHOR Restaurant
Westin's Bistro 245
Key West Express
FURY Water Adventures
Dunkin' Donuts
JSA Promotions

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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.

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
Located at the at the historic Crane House at Crane Point Museum and Hammock
Mailing Address:
PO Box 504301
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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PO Box 504301
Marathon, FL 33050

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