The Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan was published on July 18, 2014. Periodic management plan review is required by Congress to
ensure that national marine sanctuaries continue to conserve, protect, and enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources while
allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities within the Sanctuary. This new plan outlines management priorities for Gray's Reef for the
next 5-10 years.
As a result of management plan review, NOAA is also revising the regulations for Gray's Reef to add an exemption to allow the use of weighted marker
bouys to be used as a safety measure for scuba divers and to mark locations for fishermen. NOAA is also clarifying the anchoring prohibition to enhance
enforcement of sanctuary regulations. A Final Environmental Assessment describes the purpose, need and environmental consequences of the plan and new
regulations. The new regulation will become effective on August 18, 2014.
While sanctuary regulations prohibit the placement of any material on the seafloor, which previously included weights to mark locations during
recreational diving or fishing, the exemption now allows for weighted marker buoys:
- Weighing up to 10 pounds
- Maximum of 1\4 inch buoy line
- Continuously tended by divers and fishers
- Cannot be attached to a vessel
- Cannot be capable of holding a boat at anchor
- Must be removed within 12 hours
Click here (1682 kb) to download a copy of the Gray's Reef NMS 2014 Management Plan.