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Snapper Ledge petition for Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) status


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#1 echeng

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:56 PM

Stephen Frink wrote to me a few days ago and asked me to set up a petition to help get Snapper Ledge designated as a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA). There seems to be good momentum behind getting this done, and we need as many signatures as possible before it can be presented to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The petition link is here:
http://www.petitiono...g/petition.html

... but I've reproduced the entire thing here for you to read.

Petition for Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) status for Snapper Ledge, Tavernier, Key Largo, Florida

We the undersigned request the enactment of a law, regulation, and/or ordinance prohibiting the taking of any and all types of marine creatures, sponges, corals, aquatic plants and grasses from the waters around the dive site commonly known as Snapper Ledge, Tavernier, Key Largo, Florida Keys, Florida by any and all means. We the undersigned seek Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) status for Snapper Ledge.

We request this action because this reef is a unique and popular scuba diving site that is well known internationally for its diverse and dense concentration of marine creatures. Unfortunately, the area is being depleted and destroyed by fisherman who kill fish for food, sport and pleasure using both spears and hooks.

Snapper Ledge, a popular dive site off of Tavernier in the Florida Keys, is home to some of the most dense and diverse marine life populations in the area. Divers regularly report the presence of large schools of grunts, snappers, and many other species of fish, including parrotfish, rays, lobsters, and more. Divers also report that although the extreme density of marine life is present during the entire year, it is concentrated only in the immediate area around what is commonly known as Snapper Ledge.

Divespots.com describes Snapper Ledge as follows:

"Often, the schools of fish are so thick that you cannot see through them. You can usually count on seeing a few nurse sharks along with green and spotted Moray Eels. Other frequent sightings include Goat Fish, Hog Snappers, Trunk Fish, Sea Urchins, Crabs, Lobster, Nurse Sharks, Spider and Arrow Crabs, Rays, Octopus, Corkscrew Anenome, Eel, Cleaner Shrimp, Butter Hamlet, and Hawk Fish.

"One of the largest and healthiest Boulder Brain Corals (Colpophyllia natans) in the Upper Keys can be found on Snapper's Ledge. This site is an exceptional location for both snorkeling and diving -- a serious "Must Dive" site in the keys."

Unfortunately, Snapper Ledge has become a popular destination for spear-fishing. It is common for recreational SCUBA divers to see the carnage left by spear-fisherman, many of whom are underwater simply to shoot animals for sport. Some divers have even reported spear-fisherman killing animals within mere feet of them.

Nurse sharks are a common target, and many divers have testified to seeing nurse sharks speared for sport and left to die prolonged deaths over the course of many days.

Professional underwater photographer and Key Largo resident Stephen Frink photographed a nurse shark -- still alive -- that had been "stabbed through the back and eviscerated." See Stephen's blog entry (link below) for his letter about the situation at Snapper Ledge, and for a photo of the eviscerated nurse shark.

We the undersigned seek Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) status for Snapper Ledge.

By virtue of its unusually dense concentration of marine life and value as a marquee dive site for recreational SCUBA divers, Snapper Ledge should be protected as a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA), just as Molasses Reef and French Reef are protected. There are plenty of other places to spear fish off Tavernier and Islamorada, and to decimate the fish populations at Snapper Ledge is both shortsighted and barbaric.

--- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON MARINE PROTECTED AREAS (MPAs) ---

A common misconception is that MPAs and SPAs reduce the availability of fish for fishing (including spear-fishing).

In fact, MPAs and SPAs can increase the productivity of local fishing grounds because "in the absence of fishing pressure inside reserves, fish are able to grow to maturity and to increase in overall abundance. This leads to increased reproductive potential inside reserves, and the subsequent increased production of eggs and larvae, which can be transported by currents of the reserves to replenish nearby fishing grounds."

Source: http://mpa.gov/helpf...rie_Enhancement

--- USEFUL LINKS ---

Snapper Ledge information, Divespots.com
http://www.divespots...7/view.divespot

Stephen Frink, on Snapper Ledge
http://stephenfrink....-no-reason.html

National Marine Protected Areas: FAQs
http://mpa.gov/helpf...rie_Enhancement


eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#2 StephenFrink

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:29 AM

Stephen Frink wrote to me a few days ago and asked me to set up a petition to help get Snapper Ledge designated as a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA). There seems to be good momentum behind getting this done, and we need as many signatures as possible before it can be presented to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The petition link is here:
http://www.petitiono...g/petition.html

... but I've reproduced the entire thing here for you to read.



Here are a couple of shots of the good, the bad, and the very ugly things that happen at Snapper Ledge. Please take a moment and sign the petition. We (the fish, the divers visiting Key Largo, and I) appreciate it.

FSL2892D.jpg

FSK130D.jpg

Edited by StephenFrink, 11 September 2008 - 05:30 AM.

Stephen Frink - www.stephenfrinkphoto.com
Publisher - Alert Diver Magazine
Distributor/North America - Seacamusa.com
Travel - Waterhousetours.com

#3 loftus

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:42 AM

Just to add my two cents worth; for those who have never been to Snapper Ledge, it probably has the highest density of fish life one will see anywhere in the Caribbean, we need to really make sure it stays that way.
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#4 BotSO

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 01:23 PM

Snapper Ledge is one of my favorite dives in Key Largo. If you're ever in Key Largo, you need to dive Snapper Ledge.

#5 StephenFrink

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:21 AM

Snapper Ledge is one of my favorite dives in Key Largo. If you're ever in Key Largo, you need to dive Snapper Ledge.


I saw I had a very eloquent comment to my post on my blog at http://www.digitalimmersions.com. Here's what "kitten" had to say:

<<Some anglers and spearfishmen are decimating the aquatic life living on Snapper Ledge reef off Tavernier; simply for the thrill of killing. In addition, it appears that these individuals are wounding these creatures for their perverse enjoyment and pleasure. Evidence suggests that they have taken some delight in inflicting serious injury upon these defenseless animals so that they can watch them painfully suffer. This is a viciousness commensurate with current felonious acts codified in law. Society warrants protection from these deranged and armed reprobates.

Nurse sharks are being speared for 'sport' and left to die. They anguishly linger on to life for several days, only to be discovered on subsequent dives dead on the reef. Just this last week the internationally acclaimed underwater photographer, diver and artist Stephen Frink discovered a nurse shark who had been stabbed in the head and eviscerated, leaving his entrails hanging out. Still alive, with nothing that anyone could do to aleviate this creatures' discomfort, it died a miserable death. It's probable that someone caught him, stabbed him, gaffed or sliced him, and then threw him back in the water to die.

What is the difference between 'animal cruelty' for creatures on land and those that reside in the sea, particularly, given the manner of death and injury aforementionly described?

There are an awful lot of policing agencies in the Florida Keys. Surely a plan can be developed which would monitor and curb this type of recklessness. There are county, state and federal laws on the books, regulating an individuals' conduct while in a protected area. It's clear to all, that these sensless and illicit acts must be brought to an immediate halt. The use of weaponry involved in these "Joy Killings and Maimings" is a clear and present danger to everyone.

Our body of law-enforcement, along with the State Attorney and United States Attorney have an opportunity to flex their muscles and leadership abilities, while prosecutorially proceeding with an appropriate expenditure of the Peoples' money, as they take action to protect our only remaining viable reef.

The business community has profited from their use of the environment. With a 'man of conscience' representing their ranks, such as Stephen Frink, I'm certain that they will resolutely do their part in remedying this ongoing tragedy.

We must expeditiously proceed to have this site protected as a 'Sanctuary Preservation Area' (SPA). Those elected and appointed to serve must vanguard this effort. All will be watching.

Evil perpetuates itself not because bad people do wrong, but because good people do nothing. Let us rally behind eradicating this crime being perpetrated upon the "People and Creatures of the
Keys".

September 8, 2008 8:06 PM>>

Nicely stated.
Stephen Frink - www.stephenfrinkphoto.com
Publisher - Alert Diver Magazine
Distributor/North America - Seacamusa.com
Travel - Waterhousetours.com

#6 echeng

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 05:06 PM

Stephen Frink has posted a video about Snapper Ledge. Check it out -- well worth the 7-minutes it takes to watch:
http://fw_scuba.perm...?showid=1013390
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#7 shawnh

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 08:41 PM

Great work on this Stephen. Though I don't really dive the Keys (I should some time), the footage and images you shared in your video are commensurate with what one might see on a good Indo Dive. For the Caribbean that is amazing! I fully support this petition and will share it with other divers in my network.

Keep it up!

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