Effective December 4, 2011
|Gray's Reef Protected Area
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Under a new regulation that went into effect December 4th, 2011, the southern third of NOAA's
22-square-mile Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is now a research area where scientists will be able
to study the impact of human activities on the sanctuary's marine resources. Fishing and diving are
prohibited in the research area off the Georgia coast, but vessels are allowed to travel across the area
as long as they don't stop.
Roughly eight-square-miles and relatively free of human activity, the research area will allow scientists
to design and implement habitat studies where critical variables can be controlled over long periods of
|Seastar and low relief live bottom
The research area will serve as a place to study potential impacts from various activities on the
sanctuary's natural resources, including bottom fishing, as well as a place to monitor and study impacts
of climate change, and natural events such as hurricanes and droughts.
"The new research area provides a great opportunity to advance our understanding of the ocean and help
ensure that special places like Gray's Reef remain healthy for generations to come," said George
Sedberry, superintendent, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries received comments during a public comment period on the
proposed research area from September to December 2010. The boundary option chosen for the research area
was favored by most sanctuary users and is expected to displace a minimal number of sanctuary visitors.
here research area regulations. See page
63832 for a Summary of Revisions to the Sanctuary Regulations.
here for Final Enviromental Impact Statement.