Florida Keys Marine Parks And Sanctuaries
Scuba diving first came onto the scene in the 1950's, and tourists began arriving in the keys to discover the beautiful treasure we have here: the coral reefs. Diving really took off as a water activity, and the diving tourism started to build up. At this time, in the 1950's, there were no marine sanctuaries or parks. There just weren't that many people bothering the coral before that point. Through the mid-1950's, both local and tourist divers enjoyed the reef here in the Florida Keys, but both groups posed a particular threat to the delicate marine ecosystem. People ripped up the coral, and even used dynamite to blast it to bits, to sell in tourists shops. Fishing, too, was unregulated, and spearfishers and anglers practiced catch and keep.
In 1957 scientists and conservationists joined together and spoke up to spearhead an effort to protect the marine life. One of these people was John Pennekamp, from The Miami Herald. If this name sounds familiar to you, it's because the park that was created as a result of these conservation efforts was named after him. It's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located off the shores of Key Largo.
All the marine parks and sanctuaries in the Florida Keys serve to protect the valuable natural resource here in Florida, and each has its own distinct makeup and different things to offer the diver or anyone in the waters of the Florida Keys.
Read More about each Sanctuary or Marine Park