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Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas supports: Highlights

The Economy

  • Florida's coasts and ocean are an important part of a $65 billion tourism industry. 1
  • Florida's coastal counties contributed more than $561 billion in direct revenue to Florida's economy in 2006. This accounted for more than 75% of Florida's GDP that year. 2
  • Recreational fishing activity injected more than $4.5 billion into Florida communities in the form of retail sales, employment compensation and business earnings in 2006. 2

The Environment

  • 43% of the federally listed threatened or endangered species rely directly or indirectly on wetlands for their survival. (USFWS)
  • More than 70% of commercially important fish and shellfish species are dependent on estuaries
  • Types of habitat that are protected within the protected areas include salt marsh, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, tidal flats, mangrove forests, spring-fed rivers, freshwater marshes and many others.


  • The world class beaches and coral reefs which reflect Florida's "way of life" draw 29 million tourists annually.
  • 623,693 visitors to CAMA managed areas in '08-'09.

Through Management:

  • Aquatic Preserves - Established by state statute, these are submerged lands of exceptional beauty which are to be maintained in their natural or existing conditions for future generations. The first AP was established in Estero Bay in 1966. In 1975 the Florida Aquatic Preserve Act was passed and the existing preserves were brought under a standard set of management criteria.
  • National Estuarine Research Reserves - These are areas of estuarine waters and adjacent coastal uplands that have been designated by joint action of the state and federal governments and managed cooperatively.
  • National Marine Sanctuary – The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary covers 2.3 million acres of state and federal submerged lands. Management of the sanctuary is in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Coral Reef Conservation Program - This program coordinates research, monitoring, and response to coral reef injuries, develops management strategies, and promotes partnerships and stakeholder participation to advance protection of Florida’s reefs. Through its role in supporting Florida's membership on the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the U.S. All Islands Committee, the Coral Reef Conservation Program leads the implementation of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative and other local action strategies to protect the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (offshore Miami-Dade through Martin counties).
  • Staff activities are augmented through numerous partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, community groups and research institutions. Community volunteers contributed 40,896 hours in '07-'08 and 36,871 in '08-'09.

1 Visit Florida

2 Florida's Ocean and Coastal Economies Report

Students looking through a seine net

Students learn about the inhabitants of the estuary by looking in a seine net

Mangrove replanting at Rookery Bay

Volunteers restoring mangrove habitat through replanting

Water quality sampling

Water quality sampling

NERR Sites

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Last updated: September 19, 2014

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