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Prominent within the 115-square-mile Madison-Swanson Reserve is a limestone ridge, thought to be the remnants of a 15,000-year-old coral reef. FSU researchers have identified 15 sites along the ridge where gag grouper aggregate each year to spawn.
Florida Marine Protection Zones
Dozens of areas off Florida's coasts are managed by the federal government to protect fisheries or fragile marine or estuarine areas. Shown here are some of those key sites.
A1/A2: DeSoto Canyon Closed Area - est. 2000; 32,800sq. mi. (both zones) - closed to commercial longlineing
B: Madision- Swanson Experimental Reserve - est. 2000; size: 115 sq. mi - closed to all bottom fishing
C: Steamboat Lumps Experimental Reserve - est. 2000; size: 104 sq. mi. - closed to all bottom fishing
D: Florida Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern - est. 1984- size: 348 sq. mi. - closed to bottom longlining, trawls and fish traps
E: Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary - est. 1981 - size: 3,652 - closed to all shrimp trawling
F1/F2: Tortugas Ecological Reserve - est. 2001 - Size 260 sq. mi. - closed to all fishing
G. Dry Tortugas National Park - est. 1992 - size: 101 sq. mi. - open to sport fishing only in restricted areas
H: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - est. 1990 - 1,461 sq. mi. - includes 23 separate no-take fishing zones; closed to commercial fishing
I: Biscayne National Park - est. 1968 - size 284 mi. - closed to commercial fishing
J: Everglades National Park - est. 1934 - size : 2,359 sq. mi. - closed to commercial fishing
K: Oculina Bank Protected Areas - includes: Oculina Banks Habitat Area of Particular Concern - est. 1984 - size 35.5 sq. mi; Experimental Oculina Research Reserve - est. 1994 - size 208 sq. nautical miles - both areas closed to all bottom fishing and trawling