Target: Mr. Brian Carlstrom, Biscayne National Park Superintendent
Goal: Create a marine reserve in Florida’s Biscayne National Park, to protect and rebuild endangered fish species and coral reefs
Biscayne National Park protects over 170,000 acres of mangrove swamp, shallow water ecosystems, and coral reef in Florida. It offers some of the best water for snorkeling and scuba diving in the United States, but deteriorating water quality, invasive species, overfishing, and climate change have endangered the health of both the coral reef and the fish that depend on it. Demand the new park General Management Plan include a marine reserve where fish stocks and reefs can rebuild.
A marine reserve is an area set aside where fishing and other commercial activities are banned. They are based on scientifically verified principles and years of research show they can quickly rebuild damaged marine habitat. They result in an increase in the number of fish species, larger fish, increased spawning rates, and healthier reefs. These changes are often seen in just a few years, and this safe zone for marine life increases the health of the areas surrounding it as fish species migrate out of the reserve.
The original management plan for the Biscayne National Park included a marine reserve, but powerful lobbying from recreational and commercial fishermen killed the proposal. Meanwhile the health of fish species and the coral reefs continues to deteriorate. Demand that Mr. Carlstrom, the Biscayne National Park Superintendent, reinstate a marine reserve into the General Management Plan.
Dear Mr. Carlstrom,
The National Park Service’s current preferred General Management Plan proposal is severely lacking in the protections needed to rebuild devastated fish and coral reef species. Under your care recreational and commercial fishing interests have been allowed to run rampant over the long term health of the park. The area is overfished and some species are on the verge of collapse.
Fortunately there is a way to undo the damage and rebuild depleted fish stocks. Marine reserves have been proven through years of research to improve the health of coral reefs, increase the size and spawn rates of fish, increase the biodiversity of the area, and improve the health of surrounding marine ecosystems. Some marine reserves have seen species bounce back in as little as five years. Marine reserves are also a great attraction for scuba diving, snorkeling, and other non-destructive uses, and the healthier fish stocks they create are a boon to fishermen outside of the reserve.
Mr. Carlstrom, the recreational and commercial fishing lobbies will decimate Biscayne National Park if their interests persevere. The creation of a marine reserve will help ensure the long term health of the park and is vital to stopping the slow decay in coral reef and fish health that has marked the last few decades of park management.
[Your Name Here]