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Fishing, Diving, and Other Uses Focus Team Highlights

Introduction

The Fishing, Diving and Other Uses (FDOU) Focus Team was formed to address the impacts to Southeast Florida’s coral reef ecosystems caused by activities such as fishing, diving, and boating. Actions associated with these activities often result in intentional and unintentional impacts that alter reef ecosystems. The FDOU team’s primary purpose is to identify these impacts and assess how they affect marine organisms and their reef habitats. Projects were developed to address these impacts by the FDOU Local Action Strategy (LAS) and primarily focus on five main issues. They include: identifying the conservation ethics of different reef users; examining the direct and indirect impacts of fishing, diving, and boating to the reef; determining the benefit and proper deployment of artificial reefs; and locating reliable funding sources that will assist FDOU Team projects and goals.

Anchor damaging coral

Physical contact from anchors can scrape, dislodge, and crush fragile corals.
Photo: Jerry Metz

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the FDOU Team is to work with the community, scientists, resource managers, and all regulating agencies to develop a coordinated management plan for the SEFCRI region.

Team Membership

The FDOU Team is comprised of 19 member organizations, which include:

  • Broward County Environmental Protection Department
  • Diving Equipment and Marketing Association
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) – State Navigator
  • Florida Outdoor Writers Association
  • Florida Inland Navigation District
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Greater Fort Lauderdale Diving Association – Non-Agency Navigator
  • Lighthouse Point Saltwater Sportsman
  • Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) – Federal Navigator
  • National Park Service, Biscayne National Park
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Ocean Conservancy
  • Outdoor Life Magazine
  • Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management – Local Navigator
  • Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo
  • Surfrider Foundation
  • University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • West Palm Beach Fishing Club

The navigators listed above are the primary points of contact for the FDOU Focus Team and are responsible for representing SEFCRI and the FDOU Focus Team within their agencies and/or to stakeholders.

Project Examples

The FDOU Team is working to implement more than 25 projects over the course of six years. These projects comprise both a local and international perspective to help ensure the most effective strategy for protecting and conserving Southeast Florida’s reefs is developed. The range of projects include collecting information about the use of marine managed areas around the world, examining how current uses of Southeast Florida’s coral reefs have changed from those in the past, providing workshops that encourage divers and fishers to exercise "reef friendly" practices, and identifying the most intensively used areas of the reef. Many of these projects originated from a needs assessment study developed by SEFCRI to improve our understanding of stakeholder’s knowledge and perception about coral reefs and their management in the SEFCRI region. A full description of FDOU projects can be found at at the SEFCRI Local Action Strategy.

Fishing gear left on coral

Physical contact from anchors, vessel groundings, fishing gear and divers can harm fragile coral polyps.
Photo: Jerry Metz


Anticipated Outcomes

  • Increased compliance with Florida’s fishing regulations
  • Increased stakeholder education about "reef friendly" practices
  • Achieving a sustainable balance between all fishing, diving and recreational activities so optimal benefits of the resource are enjoyed by present and future users
  • Minimization of direct and indirect impacts caused by fishing, diving, and other uses associated with coral reefs
  • Development of a mooring system to protect the most intensively used areas of reefs from anchoring
  • Enactment of a coordinated management plan that best reflects the goals outlined by stakeholders to protect and conserve Southeast Florida’s coral reefs

Focus Teams

Gorgonian coral

A common gorgonian on southeast Florida reefs.
Photo: Dave Gilliam, National Coral Reef Institute

If you are interested in receiving updates or would like to sign up as a stakeholder, please contact us at Coral@dep.state.fl.us

Last updated: May 08, 2014

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