KEY LARGO -- A crowd of approximately 30 turned out at the local Holiday Inn last week to listen to Biscayne National Park officials explain their latest plan to govern the 180,000-acre marine park for the next two or more decades.
The National Park Service is proposing to establish a 23.8-square-mile special recreation zone to protect Biscayne's eastern reef tract. The zone, which would begin just a few miles northeast of the Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo, would feature numerous special restrictions on recreational fishing and would ban commercial fishing for everything but ballyhoo.
The proposal would be part of the next Biscayne National Park General Management Plan. Development of the plan has been underway since 2000, meaning that it has taken longer to complete than the replacement of the New York's World Trade Center with the 104-story Freedom Tower.
The National Parks Service now hopes to have the plan finalized in December 2014.