Vitality of reef coral populations off Key Largo, Florida

Many customers ask questions about the health of the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

Healthy Coral Reef Key Largo
Divers on Key Largo Healthy Coral Reef

Sad to have to say but, humans need to wake up and start caring more in the cities North of the Florida Keys if we want our corals to be here for future generations!

Due to the unhealthy pollution going into the Ocean off the coast just North of the Florida Keys in the Miami area, North Key Largo reefs are suffering slowly.

Estimates of net recruitment and mortality of reef corals on Carysfort Reef, Key Largo, Florida, suggest that these populations declined over the 14 month interval studied. The greatest rate of change on Carysfort Reef, the most well developed reef in the northern Keys, occurred in the zone of richest coverage by corals. Water pollution associated with the tremendous increase in the human population of South Florida in the last twenty years may be contributing to the reef’s decline.

Efforts to re-build Florida Keys Coral Reef

Two of the region’s most important corals, staghorn and elkhorn, were in drastic decline. The corals — tiny, stationary marine animals that make up the reefs — were dying because of many reasons, including climate change, pollution and overfishing, experts said.

Today, they’re on the endangered species list.
“The coral reefs of the Florida Keys are the most threatened and the heaviest-used coral reefs in the world,” said Billy Causey, southeast regional director of the National Marine Sanctuaries, an entity of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Due to his passion for the living coral reef, this led Fl. Keys local Ken Nedimyer to start the Coral Restoration Foundation. CRF  has grown more than 25,000 staghorn and elkhorn corals in underwater nurseries. Ken and his staff of volunteers work three days a week maintaining the nurseries just off Key Largo. The nurseries cover more than an acre of the ocean floor.
“Ken’s coral nursery is the largest in the wider Caribbean,” Causey said. “It’s probably 10 times larger than any others that I know of.”
CRF growing corals to replant
Health of Coral Reefs Key Largo, Florida Keys