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Angling Opportunities Dry Up in Dry Tortugas

September 21, 2007
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|| |—| | Forty-six percent of park waters will be closed to all fishing.| Limitations on recreational activities in Dry Tortugas National Park, located about 70 miles west of Key West, will restrict access to fishing waters in an effort to protect fragile ecosystems. If fully implemented, the management plan would designate 46 percent of the 100-square-mile park area as a “research natural area” in which recreational fishing would be prohibited (commercial fishing is already banned in the park). Designated in 1992, Dry Tortugas National Park saw more than 73,000 visitors in the year 2001, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Park managers hope to limit the impact of visitors by restricting ferry and seaplane services to one concessionaire each, and private-boaters will be required to purchase permits to enter the waters of the park. Legal action by the state of Florida has delayed implementation of some parts of the management plan, but the plan is expected to move forward. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/drto/planning.

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