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Interview 1:21 - 1:49:38 Play 1:21 - More
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Billy Causey  







Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Management and enforcement  

Environmental Recording 1:08:29 - 1:14:23 Play 1:08:29 - More
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Topside reef ambi, Water lapping  








NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
23 Sep 1997

  • United States
    Monroe County
  • Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
  • 24.51667   -81.73333
  • Ocean
  • Marine
    Recording TimeCode
  • 1:21 - 1:49:38
  • United States
    Monroe County
  • Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Sand Key
  • 24.45833   -81.875
  • Marine
  • Ocean
    Recording TimeCode
  • 1:08:29 - 1:14:23
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Spaced Omnis and Decoded MS Stereo

[September 21-25, 1997]
DAT #2

BC = Billy Causey
AC = Alex Chadwick

At sea with Billy Causey, Sanctuary Superintendent of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Day 1 -heading out into the sanctuary with Greg, Alison Simmons, and Billy Causey

00-0 -[off mic] [Alex and Billy Causey -talking about marine zoning and the first time in this country that zoning has been adapted with marine areas set aside ..... ]

06:24 Billy Causey [BC]
* "We do know that from our management actions at Looe Key and Key Largo, the fish populations have increased 400% just by prohibiting spear fishing, tropical fish collecting, and the harvesting of other marine life in those areas. We anticipate a very positive change in marine life in the ecological reserves. The sanctuary preservation areas are set aside as no harvest, no take, primarily because those areas are so heavily used by tens of thousands of divers every year. [7:00] For example on the top of Looe Key reef -in an area less than a quarter of a square mile, we get over 85,000 snorkelers and divers every year. If everyone takes something, it wouldn't take long to deplete the concentrated resources in that area. [7:15] .....

See that yellow buoy over there, those two 30 inch yellow buoys mark the western side of the western Sambos ecological reserve .....this area is 9 square miles that is closed to harvesting....fairly good compliance. Implemented regulations July 1 ....a little over a month had a two day event -lobstering ...thousands of divers and snorkelers, many stayed out of zones. going to take 1-2 years of education and outreach for people to recognize the significance of setting these areas aside. If what has happened in other countries~ happens here, will be the community that will be asking for more of these areas in the future. Get such a pride in community, want to take people out to see reef and the special areas which are now very much different from weh being harvested [9:43]

{Change of Billy's position. Billy now will be on the left!} AC: What's underneath us? How deep is the floor, and what's down there? BC: ...primarily seagrass move offshore, more coral reef environments, ultimately shallow reef embankment .....

AC: Where are we headed ....
11:05 BC: We're actually heading southeast -will be turning south towards reef track. Once we get about 5 miles off shore, we will come to the barrier reef, it's the reef community that runs off the Miami area all the way down 220 miles to the Dry Tortugas. [11:30]

FX: Boat take off [ok] [then talk] [off mic: Greg -officer in Florida marine control -elite group -and one of seven in sanctuary squad. primary goal to get compliance with least amount of enforcement. lobster fishermen were some of the most concerned we would be impacting this area ¬have asked them to set traps outside the area. BC [off mic still] In 5 years preceding sanctuary designation we had five major ship groundings on our reefs. In over 6 six years after designation had none, now two recently. Radio chatter [no] had as many as 270 boats in this area one day.

BC: [off mic] My academic training, I'm a marine biologist. Moved to the Keys to collect tropical fish. shipping fish internationally. in studying the program. 'concerned at that time about looe key would be a green spot.

Come across conch researchers.

21:45 -Good boat approach to the other boat. Billy says Hi. and talks with lobster [not conch] researchers who are in western sambos ecological reserve. Are you seeing more lobster showing up in ecological reserve.... totally off mic ...

24:58 BC: What we're doing in this monitoring and research we're doing in the sanctuary preservation areas and the ecological reserves and 4 areas we have set aside for research only is to start monitoring changes that are taking place in the various marine life communities, such as the lobster, the queen conch, and also the fish, shrimp and crab and the corals, all the coral reef communities that makes up the reef ecosystem. [25: 29] [VG] We have a number of scientists working .... also Dr. Jim Bohnsack -doing monitoring in each of counting fish populations, proponent of marine reserves -counting changes in fish populations as a result of implementing no harvest regulations.

FX: Boat takeoff [26:59] + bouncing along through the water

28:19 BC: "The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is 2800 square nautical miles, and it runs from roughly the Miami area and parallels the Florida Keys, at a depth of roughly 300 feet for 220 miles all the way down to the Dry Tortugas and then it turns and follows on the Gulf side up to the Everglades National

Park. [Note: Boat engine turns off] Inside the boundaries of the sanctuary, we have some of North America's most diverse marine communities. We have mangrove fringed shorelines, hardbottom habitats, patch reefs, vast seagrass communiites, as well as this continent's and America's only living barrier coral reef [29:05] ...... [VG] [note: short trail of nice ambience at end of Billy]

29:47 BC: My name is Billy Causey. I'm the superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. [29:55] AC: Are you a Keys Man BC; My wife and I moved to the Keys in 1973. Both marine biologists. We arted living and working here collecting tropical fish .....shipping literally al over the world ... supplying aquariums and scientists with living specimens. As a result of what we were doing, saw changes die off in 70s ... in 80s, bath water warm water.... fish dying. that year had coral bleaching event. In 1983 had another coral bleaching event, plus sea urchin die off -lost off 95% of sea urchin die off, reefs bleaching throughout the Caribbean, and west Pacific ....triggered a scientific interest -internationally. In 1988, Congress concerned reI coral reefs. In 1990 another bleaching, this time inshore. Each time, more severe and for a longer period of time.

AC: How do you know not a natural cycle?

33:24 BC: Could be a natural cycle, probably are natural cycles. have to remember can't manage natural cycles, but can manage man's activity during those periods of stress on the coral reefs. The things we can do is heighten the public awareness tat they can have a physical impact on the reefs, and when they are stressed are more vulnerable to disease, to total loss, so we can fine tune the way we interact with the resources. [34:00]

AC: Are those little patches of reef?

34:23. BC: We are over Western Sambos reef, and if you look off the bow of the boat, you can see a spur and groove reef formation. It's a formation that has developed from coral growth for five to seven thousand years we are drifting with the wind toward the coral reef ....many of our reefs are very shallow. this particular area, western sambos ecological reserve, one of the most diverse spur and groove areas .....getting a little too close to America's coral reef. [35:29 ..... ]

AC: It's a line that extends from as far as I can see on my left, on my right ...and it's a very distinct line .... 50 yards across, patchy, dark green, gray, with pretty shades of light blue -the sand -among coral formations. water flatter than it is outside. there's reef all the way for another mile.

37:23 Bc: One of the reasons this area was selected as an ecological reserve is because of the diveristy in the various coral reef communities in this particular area of the Keys. This area has some of the best spur and groove reef formations in the Florida Keys, and is very attractive to snorklers and divers. By prohibiting the harvesting of any activities in this area, certainly snorklers and divers can come out and enjoy this, however, the people who spear fished or take shells or lobster, they have to go to other locations. What we are doing by making this area a no harvest, no take area is preserving a apeice of this wonderful coral reef environment for future generations to
use and enjoy. [38:20]

Stop and talk with Bill Holsten

39:07 talking on boat, water, motor ambi ...

39:35 bc (yells to another boat) how y'all do in today, we don't wanna come to close conversation

Bob Holston, coming up to Bob's boat ...

44:47 great ambi boat motor and water

45:14 bc the one thing that we really want to check on is to see if as the ship is leaving the port ofkey west is there a sediment boon being kicked up behind the ship and we've been getting reports from various groups that as the ships are leaving key west are kicking up sediments and those sediments are harmful to coral reefs .

45:46 bc we want to work wi the cruise industry and let the cruise industry know that we want to be a good partner with them in the economic dev ofkey, west but at the same time we want to make sure that they are not impacting the coral reef

Fog horn

46:23 its a whistle bouy

46:54 nice ambi of fog horn in distance and water lapping on side of boat

48:14 motor starting ...

48:40 bc one of the things I hope we can do during the int year of the ocean is take nms to middle america ...

ambi water motor running

49:50 bc the way people can help us in middle america has to think about their individual actions, think locally act globally anything that they put in the end oftheir sewers ... just do it in a very conscientious manner. Those end up in our river, in our streams...and ultimately our oceans...only then will we be doing true ecosystem management ...

talking about miss. Flooding

@52:00 ambi motor running

going to sand key boat motor roar @52:49 vg, can hear water splashing to side ... ***

53:44 bc talking

53:55 bc we have just cruised along the reeftrack and now we are opp eastern dry rocks on our way to sand keys ... these next three reefs are all sanctuary preservation areas we now have 18 sanctuary preservation areas that have been set aside to protect the shallow fragile coral reefs from various harvesting activities these three among the 18 that we have est capture the snorkeling and diving activity throughout the
year ...

55:03 ae how big?

55:14 bc about lOOO yds about a quarter a mile back and over to right ... (pointing out area) ...

56:04 bc that's what really makes coral reefs attractive to visitors ...

talking about colorful fish ...

57:02 bc shallow water ...

57:29 bc this is (beep, beep) one of the very smallest Sanctuary preservation areas ...

57:40 bc mooring buoy protects reef from anchors ...

58:07 bc again the reg. Inside here are no harvesting no take although some of the charter fisherman want to be able to troll (?) through this area and hook a barracuda and have an exciting catch for their passengers and then they'll unhook the barracuda and release it well one of the things that we have allowed and we're practicing with it and is part of our research program is that sand key is a sp provision in the
reg in that...

58:53 bc it was one of the final concessions we made in the plan to work with the charter boat industry I have heard from some of the charter fisherman that these small sanctuary preservation areas really doesn't affect their activity blc they don't really want to troll that close to the shallow reef anyway: ..

59:17 bc most of the impacts as far as the public is concerned are often just perceived impacts they are things that they have believed in their minds and in their hearts and they sometimes have to oppose changes in the way they've done business in the past... for whatever reasons once we've implemented our reg in july a lot of the public came around and said "hey this isn't really any big deal.... " low hum of motor

talking about invest. barracuda capture

roar of motor, bc talking

talking about railroad ...

1:04:48 bc we're at one of the special sanctuary preservation off of key west-at sand key. Sand key is actually one of our only emergent islands in the chain of the reefs in the ... and there's an old lighthouse built by general mead built in 1858 and its about 110 feet high and it sits right up on top of sand key reef its a very spectacular area ... the reef itself has a shallow spur and groove reef formation ... and we can see the waves breaking on the shallow reef. .. around this reef comm ... .it gets a lot of visitation throughout the year ...

recording reef

1 :06:29 a minute of ambi next to sand key

1:08:00 bc you know while we're out here why don't we go out to the lighthouse and listen to the reef for a while ...

water lapping ...

spaced omnis

1:08:48 ambi. something knocking against boat?****

1:12:26 really good

1:12:48 stem side, spaced omnis, faint beeping~ 1:14:47

ac billy, what are we hearing down there

1:14:59 bc we're hearing a lot ofsounds coming from the reef, we're hearing snapping shrimp we're hearing mollusks closing we're hearing the waves actually moving through the coral reef itself ...we're also hearing the fish make sounds-grunts, we've also heard some of the crunching of the parrot fish [david doubilet talks a lot about the parrot fish]

1:15:28 bc its very easy to identify some of the sounds if you spend a lot of time in the coral reef environment and I've spent about 18,000 hours listening to this...but this is the first time I've heard it so upclose and personal it's
incredible those snapping shrimp that are making that snapping sound are v its fabulous

1:16:15 bc this is certainly a diff way of listening to the reef. .. ev year at 100 key for the last 13 yrs a group has had an underwater music festival and they drop speakers into the water and all the dive shops using the reef on that day will carry these hydro-speakers with them and then the local radio station plays four hours of uninterrupted music and its music v conducive to the reef environment and the divers can hear that music all day long ... (interesting ... )

1:18:38 slow low plane, water. ..

1:20:24 water low hum of motor, splashing and wind get more intense ... (1:20:50)

1:21:25 spaced omnis ambi of boat take-off 1:21:39 boat motor and beeping (vg)***
1:23:58 dies down

talking about traps

1:25:04 spaced omnis farther up then where standing for int. start up of boat (vg) can hear boat "bouncing up and down" dies down 1:26:10

1:26:40 boat motor (vg)

1:29:24 more boat motor and talking in bg ...

1:33:28 boat engine off can hear distant boat motor. .. no talking, low hum of motor, water sounds~ 1:35:10

1:35:23 bc talking about houseboats and nutrient problems

1:36:17 where do the nutrient problems come from

1:36:21 be most of our nut problems come from storm water run-off or 30,000 septic tanks and 9000 illegal cess-pits here in the keys our limestone substrate is very porous and anything put into that substrate drains into the nearshore waters within a few hours ...

talking about deep-well injection.

1:38:30 Talk about drug patrols

1:38:40 boat motor talk about jet skis.

1:41:11 bc the quality of life issues are tremendous in terms as far as personal watercraft ... and we are trying to reach out to the public ...

1:41: 45 spaced omnis

1:42:51 bc what really leads to the diversity here in the keys is the mixture between the temperate fauna as well as the tropical fauna on coral reef

1:43:31 radio ambi boat motor, people talking over radio... (vg) ,

1:44:38 one minute ambi radio ... motor running, dies down (1 :45:00)

1:46:00 voices over radio, v clear vg.

1:47:00 more radio voices

1:47:38 bc and then you have the person who lives on a boat year long and its a boat but it has all the amenities of a home and then you have a third type that are really your fishing comm. and beginning in about 1980.....we started getting more fisherman that were willing to live with their families on the water and live in little floating communities. and that's part true of the sponge fisherman ... and they move up and down the keys and then we have a fourth group that are the people that live in little boats that will ? themselves but they live off-shore in open water at no cost to themselves they may have wind generators or they may have solar panels they cert don't have hookups to electricity and this is the way they live and they are our workforce, they may work behind the bars...and the fifth type are the little shanties that you say out here that are not really boats they don't even have any means of power but they float ... they have varying degrees of impacts on the resources but for the most part the concerns concerns that are generated ...

1:50:20 motor start up switch to ms

1:50:48 talking ...

1:51:10 ms motor in bg talking in bg motor off...


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