Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Banded Sea Star About the Sanctuary

Location of Gray's Reef

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is 19 miles east of Sapelo Island Georgia, in the South Atlantic Bight (the offshore area between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Florida) on an area of the continental shelf where temperate and tropical waters mingle west of the Gulf Stream. Other nearby features include the Charleston Bump , deep-water Oculina coral banks and the Georgia tilefish grounds.

The 22 square miles (about 14,000 acres) of Gray's Reef is just a small part of territorial sea off the east coast of the U.S., but it is linked by ocean currents to areas well outside the South Atlantic Bight.

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is part of the Office of National Marine Sanctuary's Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region which also includes the Florida Keys and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuaries.

Because of Gray's Reef's unique location at the intersection of temperate and tropical waters, the sanctuary serves as a sentinel point for various monitoring programs of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

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 have their gear stowed properly and they don't stop.

Gray's Reef Protected Area

Gray's Reef Protected Area
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Sea Anemone

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