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  South Florida CORAL REEFS


French Angelfish Close-up
© Don DeMaria
French Anglefish - DeMaria

Conservation of Florida's coral reefs includes:

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located in Florida, was the first underwater park within the United States. Located adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and extending into the Atlantic Ocean, this park covers approximately 178 nautical square miles (1.3 square km).
Coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves are included within the park boundaries.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
courtesy FKNMS/NOAA
Pennekamp State Park

Dr. Gilbert Voss of the Marine Institute of Miami observed damage to the reefs off the Florida Keys during the late 1950s. Much of the damage was a result of the collection of coral, shells, seahorses, and other marine life for souvenirs to tourists. He suggested that there should be some restrictions on the exploitation of the reefs to avoid destruction of the reefs. A powerful ally, John D. Pennekamp had played a major role in the establishment of the Everglades National Park and later became the assistant editor for the Miami Herald. They, along with other conservationists, eventually convinced the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials to designate a 75 square mile (194.2 square km) section of marine habitat as a preserve. Dedication ceremonies were held on December 10, 1960, when Governor Leroy Collins named America's first underwater park as John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The park was named after John D. Pennekamp in appreciation of the support that had been given by Pennekamp and the Miami Herald.
For more information, visit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection


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