Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Rick Oches, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank Muller-Karger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ogden, Ph.D.


marine reserve, marine management plan, marine policy, fishery management, ecosystem management


Biscayne National Park is located off the southeast coast of Florida and attracts approximately half a million visitors annually. Managers of Biscayne National Park are proposing a new General Management Plan (GMP) in order to update the recreational and commercial use of resources in the park. A Fishery Management Plan (FMP) is also being drafted simultaneously in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in order to address concerns associated with management of fish stocks within the park.

The proposed plan alternatives of the GMP and the recommendations of the FMP were developed in response to the negative impacts on the park's marine ecosystem due to exponential population growth of the adjacent Miami metropolitan area. Problems associated with decreasing water quality, habitat degradation, and species exploitation contribute to the diminishing integrity of resources in the park and surrounding area. Currently commercial and recreational fishing are allowed in most of Biscayne National Park.

The National Park Service's proposed alternatives are highly complex in order to make an attempt at appeasing stakeholder interests. In addition the recommendations of the FMP join the GMP alternatives in omitting marine reserves, a management practice that is widely thought by the scientific community to be an important step in marine resource rehabilitation.

At present, there is a noticeable absence of scientific information and lack of participation of scientists in management decisions. Biscayne National Park would ultimately benefit by incorporating marine reserves into the park, and adjusting them based on scientific studies conducted by an appointed Scientific Advisory Board. Partnerships with state, federal, and international agencies could promote the idea of being a part of a marine reserve network for optimal resource protection in the Caribbean. An increase in revenue from a permit system and entrance fees would also promote enforcement and protection of park resources. Simple but strong regulation in the park could also help alleviate enforcement problems. In addition education of park resource users should be expanded inside and outside the park.