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Expansion of Telemetry Efforts at Western Dry Rocks, Florida Keys

Document Type: 
Author Name: 
Danielle Morley; Alejandro Acosta, Ph.D.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has implemented a 4-month seasonal closure on Boca Grande Bar near Western Dry Rocks located ~10 miles southwest of Key West. This seasonal closure (April 1 – July 30) will protect a multi-species spawning aggregation site while commercially and recreationally important species such as mutton snapper, permit, and grey snapper use the area to reproduce. The regulations will sunset in 7 years. The FWC is developing a science plan to comprehensively understand the efficacy of this management decision and staff will be required to report progress during year 3, year 5, and then provide a comprehensive report in order for a future Commission to evaluate the sunset provision. This closure is a part of an ecosystem-based restoration and management strategy on Florida’s Coral Reef.

This project will provide additional equipment necessary to monitor the connectivity of reef fish spawning aggregations across Florida’s Coral Reef by two means: (1) The purchase of underwater acoustic receivers and acoustic tags to monitor mutton snapper and grey snapper movement at Western Dry Rocks over several years, and (2) the purchase of a portable split beam active acoustic equipment toallow scientists to locate and map the physical extend of any fish aggregations. This information gathered during this monitoring will be shared with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, DEP, and community stakeholders as they evaluate the effectiveness of this closure at Western Dry Rocks.

Last Modified:
October 7, 2021 - 9:55am

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