Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
In response to a growing awareness of the intrinsic environmental and cultural value of our coastal waters, Congress created the National Marine Sanctuary Program in 1972. The National Marine Sanctuary Act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate specific areas as National Marine Sanctuaries to promote comprehensive management of their special ecological, historical, recreational, and esthetic resources. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management is responsible for management of the nation's Marine Sanctuaries. There are currently twelve National Marine Sanctuaries established in areas where the natural or cultural resources are so significant that they warrant special status and protection.