Park Service Approves Innovative Marine Conservation Strategy at Dry Tortugas National Park

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 27, 2001
Contact:   Mary Munson, National Parks Conservation Association, cell: 954-926-6327


Park Service Approves Innovative Marine Conservation Strategy at Dry Tortugas National Park

Washington, D.C. - The National Park Service today signed the record of decision on the Dry Tortugas National Park General Management Plan Amendment, declaring 42 percent of the park's waters a "Research Natural Area." Part of a multi-agency strategy to protect the entire Dry Tortugas region, the decision prohibits fishing, limits public access, and provides strong protection for marine resources within the designated area.

This action makes Dry Tortugas National Park and the Tortugas Ecological Reserve the third-largest protected marine area in the world, exceeded only by those in Australia and Belize.

"We are beginning a new era in marine conservation in national parks," said Mary Munson, National Parks Conservation Association marine director. "We are not only protecting Dry Tortugas's fragile ecosystem, but setting a precedent for protection of marine habitats in parks across the country."

This is the first time such an action has been taken to protect marine habitat in a national park. The plan received the overwhelming approval of the public, stakeholders, and the scientific community, and is intended to protect resources including coral reefs, fish, and sea grasses in Dry Tortugas while still allowing a large portion of the park to be remain open to recreational fishing and other uses.

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