Artificial reefs, such as this one off of Broward County, Florida, are deployed to attract fish and often serve as popular dive sites.

Artificial reefs, such as this one off of Broward County, Florida, are deployed to attract fish and often serve as popular dive sites.

Photo: Jamie Monty

Improper snorkeling and diving practices, as well as dive equipment, can cause damage to fragile coral.

Improper snorkeling and diving practices, as well as dive equipment, can cause damage to fragile coral.

Photo: Jennifer Podis

Physical contact from anchors can scrape, dislodge, and crush fragile coral.

Physical contact from anchors can scrape, dislodge, and crush fragile coral.

Photo: Jerry Metz

Physical contact from commercial and recreational fishing gear can harm fragile coral and entrap and entangle non-targeted marine life.

Physical contact from commercial and recreational fishing gear can harm fragile coral and entrap and entangle non-targeted marine life.

Photo: Jerry Metz

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SEFCRI Focus Teams

Fishing Diving and Other Users (FDOU)

The Fishing, Diving and Other Uses (FDOU) Focus Team was formed to address the impacts to southeast Florida's coral reef ecosystems caused by activities such as fishing, diving, and boating. Actions associated with these activities often result in intentional and unintentional impacts that alter reef ecosystems. The FDOU team's primary purpose is to identify these impacts and assess how they affect marine organisms and their reef habitats. Projects were developed to address these impacts by the FDOU Local Action Strategy (LAS) and primarily focus on five main issues, including: identifying the conservation ethics of different reef users; examining the direct and indirect impacts of fishing, diving, and boating to the reef; determining the benefit and proper deployment of artificial reefs; and locating reliable funding sources that will assist FDOU Team projects and goals.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the FDOU Team is to work with the community, scientists, resource managers, and all regulating agencies to develop stakeholder-driven management actions and a corresponding management plan to reduce threats to southeast Florida coral reefs.

Team Membership

The FDOU Team is comprised of representatives from fifteen member organizations, which include:

The navigators listed above are the primary points of contact for the FDOU Focus Team and are responsible for representing SEFCRI and the FDOU Focus Team within their agencies and/or to stakeholders.

Project Examples

The FDOU Team is working to implement 50 projects over the course of nine years. These projects comprise both a local and international perspective to help ensure the most effective strategy for protecting and conserving southeast Florida's reefs. The range of projects include collecting information about the use of marine managed areas around the world, examining how current uses of southeast Florida's coral reefs have changed from those in the past, providing workshops that encourage divers and fishers to exercise “reef friendly” practices, and identifying the most intensively used areas of southeast Florida’s reef. A full description of FDOU projects can be found at www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/ and clicking on SEFCRI Local Action Strategy.

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • Increased compliance with Florida's fishing regulations;
  • Increased stakeholder use of "reef friendly" practices;
  • Achieving a sustainable balance between fishing, diving and recreational activities so that optimal benefits of the resource are enjoyed by present and future users;
  • Minimization of direct and indirect impacts caused by fishing, diving, and other uses associated with coral reefs;
  • Stakeholder identified management options and enactment of coordinated management plan to protect and conserve southeast Florida's coral reefs;