Click to view this email in a browser

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
August 2011
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


New Website for FKNMS
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) has a completely redesigned website! Same address, but much easier to navigate with hundreds of new photos and sections for eventsvolunteer opportunities and lots more. You'll find it easy to locate info about mooring buoys; sanctuary regulations and permits; and corals, plant life and animal life at the reef. Take some time to explore the new site and maybe even learn something new. Dive on in!

Lionfish's Impact on Coral Reef Ecosystems

The International Coral Reef Initiative has recently released an advisory statement on lionfish, urging immediate action to address the lionfish invasion in the wider Caribbean.
A growing body of scientific work has demonstrated that, in some areas where they have become established, invasive lionfish have reduced the biodiversity and resiliency of coral reefs. The expanding invasion may cause declines in ecologically important species and hinder stock-rebuilding efforts for economically important fish species. The invasion has the potential for negative economic impact on local fishing and tourism industries. In addition, lionfish have venomous spines on their fins that can inflict a serious sting to humans.Photo by Stephen Frink
It is unlikely that the lionfish invasion can be reversed. Due to their extensive geographical range and diversity of habitats and depths they occupy, any major attempts to eradicate existing lionfish populations would be impractical and doomed to failure. Lionfish are now established off of the Atlantic Coast of the United States from Florida to Cape Hatteras, NC. Control is now the only option left.
Lionfish experts are in agreement that invasive lionfish populations will continue to grow and cannot be eliminated using conventional methods. Possible control measures that have been considered include recovering and maintaining native populations of predators, such as large groupers, sharks, and others that prey on lionfish eggs, larvae and juveniles; killing those lionfish that are easily spotted and captured; controlling the aquarium trade in lionfish in the Americas; encouraging a lionfish fishery for human consumption and other commercial uses, such as harvesting for the aquarium trade; reducing fishing pressure on native competitors that occupy the same ecological niche; and biological control.
This invasion can be most effectively addressed by local action facilitated by a regional strategy encompassing the Wider Caribbean. To this end, a Regional Lionfish Committee has been formed and managers from 18 Caribbean countries and territories attended a Regional Lionfish Strategy Workshop last year. The workshop resulted in a compilation of best practices to serve as a guide for local managers as they respond to the lionfish invasion. Click here for more information on our local Lionfish Response Plan.

New Permit Regulations Begin Aug. 31

The waters of the Florida Keys will be in a Special Permit Zone (SPZ) with stricter regulations on the harvesting of permit beginning Aug. 31. The restrictive regulations are aimed at protecting spawning aggregations of permit as well as large permit that support the trophy fishery in the Keys.
FWC amended the rules for permit, Florida pompano and African pompano back in June to provide increased protection for these important species. In the past, there were no regulations for these fish in federal waters adjacent to Florida (the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic).
Permit (Photo Credit: Chris Gardinal)
The rules created separate management strategies for each species. The combined bag limit for Florida pompano and permit were split into separate bag limits, and the size limits for each species were changed. Additionally, two separate management areas were created in Florida for permit. The SPZ lies in south Florida, encompassing waters south of Cape Florida on the Atlantic coast and south of Cape Sable on the Gulf coast. The remainder of Florida makes up the second area.
Rule changes in the Florida Keys include a closed season from May 1 – July 31, a minimum fork length of 22”, a daily bag limit of one per harvester per day and a vessel limit of two permit. Spearing is now allowed in federal waters. All regulations take effect August 31, 2011. View the recreational regulations chart.

Volunteer Opportunities with Sanctuary Friends

The first time volunteering can be a lot like a first date – no commitment, but you get to meet new people and have some fun. Sometimes you leave wanting a second date! And once in awhile, you make a connection that will last a lifetime.
At Sanctuary Friends, we understand your need to get your feet wet by first volunteering for a short- term project or event. And some of you will want to jump in headfirst with regular hours every month supporting a specific project. Whatever your desires and time allow, we have something for you!
Beach Clean-up Volunteer
Our need for volunteers is ever growing. Would you like to come on a first date with Sanctuary Friends? Just let us know what interests you, or maybe you have a unique talent or knowledge you would like to share. Rest assured there will be no strings attached and you will never hear us say “Oh, by the way,” the four words that mean there’s a stipulation. 
The following are some of our current opportunities:
  • Beach Clean-ups – We will contact you when we need help, usually once or twice a year. Clean-ups are typically in the middle keys with work in the morning and a lunch picnic or cookout.
  • Manage Buoy Banks – We have several “Buoy Banks” at various dive and snorkel shops from Key Largo to Key West. Volunteers are needed to visit the shops in their hometown once a month to collect and deposit the donations.
  • Monitor Public Notices – Scan newspapers and media for local environmental issues and events and report them back to Sanctuary Friends.
  • Environmental Movie Night – We host free environmental movies monthly in Marathon. Volunteers post signs at various locations and help set up for the event.
  • Other – In the past we’ve had college students help fulfill volunteer requirements, a photographer at an event, even a grant writer. Do you have a specific talent you would like to share with Sanctuary Friends?
Call Diana at 305-289-2288 and volunteer today.


Wildlife Action Plan Revisions

In 2005, FWC completed its State Wildlife Action Plan, which is part of a nationwide framework for proactively conserving fish and wildlife and their habitats. Detailed in the pages was a commitment to revisit the plan every five years, with 2010 marking the beginning of a revision period. This is the first opportunity to make several substantial improvements to the effectiveness of the plan and the allocation of State Wildlife Grant funds.
Your participation is key to ensuring this Action Plan is an effective tool for conserving Florida's diversity of wildlife resources for future generations. FWC welcomes your review, input and comments on the revised plan. Click here to find the plan, revisions, FAQs and much more. Comments will only be accepted through the end of the month at the Action Plan Commenting site.

30 Days of Discovery

Mote Aquarium is better with a buddy, according to manatees Hugh and Buffett. Now you can enjoy Mote and bring a friend for free in September as part of “30 Days of Discovery,” a month-long special offering two-for-one admission to five Sarasota and Manatee County attractions. To receive two-for-one admission, print the coupon or pick one up at the Sarasota Visitor Information Center.

Don't Mess with the Everglades

Environment Florida is asking for your help to protect the Everglades, one of the great treasures of our state. A new bill in the U.S. House would roll back protections for our waters and strip the EPA of its powers to hold states accountable for pollution. For Florida, this could mean more pollution in our rivers that flow in from other states. Without the backstop of the EPA, the health of our rivers and drinking water could be in the hands of other states that have no incentive to keep our waters clean. Tell your Senators today: Keep the Clean Water Act intact.

Vandenberg Underwater Art Exhibit

The Vandenberg shipwreck and artificial reef in the FKNMS is now hosting an underwater art exhibition by photographer Andreas Franke. Divers recently installed 12 over-sized artistic images along the deck to the starboard side at a depth of 93 feet. The digitally layered photographs are attached to the ship's weather deck with strong magnets. They are not permanent and do not damage the ship or any marine life. The images are encased in 3 millimeter Plexiglas and mounted in stainless steel frames sealed with silicone to keep out water. No harmful materials were used in the installation or the exhibit. The official length of the underwater exhibit, "Vandenberg: Life Below the Surface," has not yet been determined.

Underwater Photo Contest

Hey divers and photographers! Here’s your chance to have your images featured in the 2012 Southeast Florida Coral Reef Calendar. All images must be of southeast Florida reefs north of Biscayne National Park into Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties. Entry deadline is Sept. 6. Questions? Email or call 305-795-1222. Download complete submission guidelines.

In This Issue:
From the Board
Lionfish Invasion Advisory
New Permit Regulations
Volunteer Opportunities
Upcoming Events

From the Board

Hello Sanctuary Friends,
I get exhausted and confused whenever I think of the daunting task ahead for the multitude of environment concerns that seem to be reaching critical mass. And then I am reminded of the saying made famous by Hillary Clinton: “It takes a village to raise a child.” To me, this quote means we have to start taking more responsibility for not just our house, but also the environment that surrounds us everyday, whether at work or play. The buck stops and starts with every one of us. It takes a community / neighborhood / village to protect our environment. We cannot depend on the government to do it, nor should we.
One way to get involved is to volunteer. It feels good to give of yourself for the greater good, and you’ll probably get more out than you put in! And you don’t have to get hot and dirty to “do good,” either. You can find various ways to volunteer on our website, from computer work to beach cleanups. If none of these activities suit your talents, contact one of the many other worthwhile nonprofits in the Keys.
Just like in life, at times you might have to do something not popular or easy as a volunteer. But at the end of the day, many hands make light work. All it takes is the first step, make a call … and become a volunteer today. Thank you!
Diana Ruelens, Administrative Assistant
Tel: 305-289-2288

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.

History of Diving Museum’s 6th Anniversary
Sept. 3, 10 am – 7 pm, 82990 Overseas Highway, Islamorada
Celebrating six years of diving history with family-friendly activities, silent auction, raffle, artifact tables and a scavenger hunt. More information.

Friends in Focus Film
Sept. 8, 7:30 pm, Sail & Power Squadron Education Building, Marathon

Monthly film and seminar series co-sponsored by Sanctuary Friends and the Marathon Sail & Power Squadron that revolves around marine life and diving. Come early for a Social at 7:00 pm.

Green Drinks
Sept. 14, 6-8 pm, Finnegan's Wake, 320 Grinnell St., Key West
Green Drinks” is part of a larger international effort of informal gatherings that draw a lively mixture of people from non-profits, business and government.

Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival
Sept. 21-25, Curry Hammock State Park, MM 56.2, Marathon
During the peak of the fall birding season, this event includes presentations, an environmental fair and field trips focusing on education and conservation as they relate to Keys birds and wildlife. Call 305-872-0774 for more information.

Coming ...
Eco-Discovery Tours

Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions. Call 305-289-2288 or email to request a brochure.

Welcome New Members
July / August 2011
Thank you for your support!
Sanctuary Donor $100
Ken Nedimyer
Sanctuary Advocate $200

Linda & Joseph Watson
Billy D. and Laura G. Causey
Sanctuary Benefactor $1,000
Michael Fimiani

Celebrating the event ...
Honoring the earth and sea
We invite you to hold your special celebrations, business meetings and other occasions in a meaningful way at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. We will help you celebrate in a green way, and your donations will help to give back to the “Sanctuary.” Call today to reserve your date and share your celebration with the earth and sea! More information.

Find Us on Facebook

We want your input! If you have stories of note or just want to comment on our newsletter, please email:

If you enjoyed this newsletter,
please forward to a friend.
If you are not already on our mailing list, please sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.
Donate to Sanctuary Friends

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 is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization
(Tax ID# 59-2443959).

We take your privacy seriously. Your email address will never be sold, rented or given away. All our emails include an easy opt-out feature. If you have activated spam filters in your email application, please add the following email to your address book:
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Hwy., Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

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

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Non-Profits Email Free with VerticalResponse!