|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
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.