When snorkeling or diving at the reef, avoid all contact from fins, hands, equipment and anchors. Even the lightest touch can crush coral polyps, the small living animals that make up the hard and soft corals at the reef.
If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. Aldo Leopold, Round River, 1993.
Reef mooring buoys maintained by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are available for use free of charge at many coral reefs; use them instead of an anchor to secure your boat. Add extra line to the pick- up to reduce stress on the buoy. Anchoring in the Sanctuary Preservation Areas is prohibited; if a buoy is not available, ask permission to tie onto a boat that is on a buoy.
Six lobsters per person per day or 24 per boat, whichever is greater
No night diving in the Florida Keys
Tails can only be separated on land
The lobster carapace must be at least three inches long
No egg-bearing females may be harvested
You must have a valid Florida Saltwater Fishing License with a current crawfish stamp
No spears, hooks or wires can be used
These rules apply in all waters of the Florida Keys out to three miles on the oceanside and nine miles out on the Gulf except in Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, Pennekamp Park, Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary SPAs' Ecological Reserves, and Research only zones (Spas ER's and Research Only Zones are marked with round yellow buoys) Sanctuary Preservation Areas(SPA'S), where it is prohibited.
Did you know that it is illegal to harvest coral in Florida, and that the United States is the largest importer of coral in the world? Avoid purchasing coral items or souvenirs made with coral. When you buy coral, you support the destruction of living reefs.
Dumping trash at sea is illegal; plastic bags and other marine debris can injure or kill animals. Bring your trash back to shore and recycle it. Try to retrieve fishing gear and equipment, especially monofilament line. Don't Teach Your Trash to swim!
Protect coral reef ecosystems by following these regulations. Camping, campfires, and collecting of any kind are prohibited on all National Wildlife Refuges. Personal watercraft and airboats are illegal in all National Parks and Wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys.
Properly dispose of hazardous waste including auto batteries, gasoline, motor oil, paint, chemical, acids and household cleaning products.