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Fishing, Diving and Other Uses Focus Area

A coral reef damaged by an anchor

The Fishing, Diving and Other Uses (FDOU) focus area was identified by the original SEFCRI Team in their 2004 Local Action Strategy (LAS) as one of the four main issues facing southeast Florida’s coral reefs. The focus of FDOU is to address the impacts caused by activities such as fishing, diving and boating. Actions associated with these activities often result in unseen and unintended impacts that alter reef ecosystems.

The FDOU area'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 focusing on main issues: 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 future FDOU projects and goals.


The primary goal of the FDOU Focus Area is to work with the community of local stakeholders, scientists, resource managers and all regulating agencies to develop stakeholder-driven management recommendations and subsequently an adaptive management plan to reduce impacts to the southeast Florida’s reefs.

Project ExamplesDamaged sponge on Florida's reef

The FDOU Focus Area has initiated or completed implementation for nearly all of the original 27 projects identified in the SEFCRI LAS 2004. These projects represent local and international perspectives to help ensure the most effective strategy for preserving southeast Florida's reefs by establishing a balance between the use and protection of coastal and ocean resources.

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 knowledge and perception about coral reefs and their management in the SEFCRI region. 

See links to select products below and view for all Fishing, Diving and Other Uses project products.

Desired Outcomes

  • Increased awareness, understanding and 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 can be 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 intensely used areas of reefs from anchoring.
  • Stakeholder-identified management recommendations and development of an adaptive management plan that uses the best available science to address the goals outlined by the local community to protect and preserve southeast Florida's coral reefs.

For more information on the Fishing, Diving, and Other Uses Focus Area, please contact the coordinator:

Last Modified:
December 5, 2023 - 4:08pm

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