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Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve

Partnerships for Protection

Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve is the southernmost aquatic preserve. It is located in the lower half of the Florida Keys archipelago and lies within the boundaries of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Established in 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary affords a higher level of protection through both state and federal management. Facing increasing threats to each of the habitats that comprise the sub-tropical ecosystem of the Florida Keys, this state-federal partnership provides protection to 2,900 square nautical miles surrounding the entire archipelago of the Florida Keys, including the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve.

"The Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve exemplifies valuable and diverse collections of habitat in
Monroe County. Unique natural areas of seagrass beds containing hard bottom with diverse shallow patch
reefs that provide life support for a myriad of bio-diverse resources."

George Neugent, Monroe County Commissioner

Quick Facts

  • Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve encompasses 4,600 acres of seagrass meadows, hard bottom communities, mangrove wetlands and coral patch reefs.
  • Along the southern boundary of Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve is a near-shore patch reef community, home to an array of sponges, soft corals, hard corals and algae.
  • Rare wading birds can often be observed foraging in the shallow waters of the tropical lagoon and among the mangroves.
  • The endangered Key deer is a frequent visitor to the mangroves at the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve. The mangrove fringe offers excellent cover for foraging.
  • Activities within the aquatic preserve include boating, snorkeling, diving, commercial fishing, marine life collecting, charter sport fishing and recreational fishing for finfish and lobster.

Above underwater photos by Richard Collins inside Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve.

Topside photo of Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve at low tide.

Big Pine Key,
Managed Location Contact: 
Katy Cummings
Total Acreage: 
Receives State Funding: 
State Owned: 
Public Access: 

Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve is located in the lower half of the Florida Keys archipelago. Lying south of the main land mass of Big Pine Key, the preserve is bounded on the north and east by the extension of that land area and on the south by the 12-foot depth contour in the Atlantic Ocean. The western boundary runs from the 12-foot Atlantic contour along the 6-foot depth contour of Newfound Harbour Channel in a northeasterly direction to the southwestern tip of Big Pine Key. The privately owned Newfound Harbor Keys lie between the interior waters of the Bight and the Atlantic portions of the aquatic preserve. Only state-owned submerged lands are included within the boundary. 

There are no boat ramps directly on the aquatic preserve but there are several nearby including two approximately 1 mile away. Several of the islands within the aquatic preserve contain residential lots, specifically on Cooks Island, Long Beach and Hopkins Island. Access to some of these residences is provided by Long Beach Road. Only private single-family docks provide access to the aquatic preserve. Much of the adjacent uplands are part of Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

Archaeological Resources: 

There are no known archaeological sites within Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve.

Habitat-Wildlife Type: 
Aquatic Preserves
Last Modified:
May 20, 2020 - 2:19pm

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