such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
September 2, 2008 — A new NOAA report on the
health of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary indicates that the
overall condition of the sanctuary’s marine life and habitats is fair.
The report also identifies several emerging threats to sanctuary
resources, including non-indigenous marine species, overfishing,
waterborne chemicals from human coastal activities, and increased
recreational use of the site.
The first-of-its-kind report about the sanctuary finds that its
water quality is relatively good, although researchers have detected
low levels of human-produced pollutants in the sanctuary’s sediments
and water-filtering organisms.
The report cites illegal anchoring, recreational fishing and
spearfishing as additional human pressures on the living marine
resources of Gray’s Reef, and states that snapper and grouper are being
overfished both within the sanctuary and throughout the region.
The report also notes that the red lionfish, a voracious and
venomous predator native to Pacific waters, has been seen in the
sanctuary and may pose a danger to local fish populations and
“Although the news isn’t all good, this report provides us with an
important benchmark,” said George Sedberry, sanctuary superintendent.
“The data in the report will serve as a baseline that sanctuary staff
can use to measure future changes in Gray’s Reef’s extraordinarily
valuable and productive marine ecosystem.”
According to the report, additional research in the sanctuary is
needed. Sanctuary managers are currently exploring the concept of
establishing a research area at Gray’s Reef to better study and
understand long-term changes in the sanctuary’s resources and habitats
The sanctuary has already made management and regulatory changes in
response to the human-caused pressures identified in the report. A
no-anchoring rule went into effect February 2007. A fishing gear rule
allowing fishing in the sanctuary only by rod and reel, handline, and
spearfishing gear without powerheads also went into effect.
Prepared by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the
peer-reviewed Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report
provides a baseline for monitoring changes to sanctuary resources and
identifying research and management priorities. Similar condition
reports are being developed for the other sites in the National Marine
The status and trends of the four main resource categories examined
in the report — water, habitat, living resources and maritime
archaeological resources — are summarized in a color-coded table
ranging from “good” to “poor,” with notes on the basis for the ratings
and sanctuary responses to various pressures. Of the 17 resources or
questions identified, none of the resources identified was listed in
Designated in 1981, NOAA’s Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary is
one of the largest near-shore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern
United States, encompassing approximately 23 square miles. Managed by
NOAA, the sanctuary is located 40 miles south of Savannah, Ga., the
second busiest port on the eastern seaboard.
Gray’s Reef supports an abundant reef fish and invertebrate
community. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, also use
Gray’s Reef year-round for foraging and resting. The reef is also near
the known winter calving ground for the highly endangered North
Atlantic right whale.
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