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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter BPart 922Subpart P → §922.163


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 922—NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS
Subpart P—Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary


§922.163   Prohibited activities—Sanctuary-wide.

(a) Except as specified in paragraph (b) through (e) of this section, the following activities are prohibited and thus are unlawful for any person to conduct or to cause to be conducted:

(1) Mineral and hydrocarbon exploration, development and production. Exploring for, developing, or producing minerals or hydrocarbons within the Sanctuary.

(2) Removal of, injury to, or possession of coral or live rock. (i) Moving, removing, taking, harvesting, damaging, disturbing, touching, breaking, cutting, or otherwise injuring, or possessing (regardless of where taken from) any living or dead coral, or coral formation, or attempting any of these activities, except as permitted under 50 CFR part 622.

(ii) Harvesting, or attempting to harvest, any live rock from the Sanctuary, or possessing (regardless of where taken from) any live rock within the Sanctuary, except as authorized by a permit for the possession or harvest from aquaculture operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone, issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to applicable regulations under the appropriate Fishery Management Plan, or as authorized by the applicable State authority of competent jurisdiction within the Sanctuary for live rock cultured on State submerged lands leased from the State of Florida, pursuant to applicable State law. See §370.027, Florida Statutes and implementing regulations.

(3) Alteration of, or construction on, the seabed. Drilling into, dredging, or otherwise altering the seabed of the Sanctuary, or engaging in prop-dredging; or constructing, placing or abandoning any structure, material, or other matter on the seabed of the Sanctuary, except as an incidental result of:

(i) Anchoring vessels in a manner not otherwise prohibited by this part (see §§922.163(a)(5)(ii) and 922.164(d)(1)(v));

(ii) Traditional fishing activities not otherwise prohibited by this part;

(iii) Installation and maintenance of navigational aids by, or pursuant to valid authorization by, any Federal, State, or local authority of competent jurisdiction;

(iv) Harbor maintenance in areas necessarily associated with Federal water resource development projects in existence on July 1, 1997, including maintenance dredging of entrance channels and repair, replacement, or rehabilitation of breakwaters or jetties;

(v) Construction, repair, replacement, or rehabilitation of docks, seawalls, breakwaters, piers, or marinas with less than ten slips authorized by any valid lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization issued by any Federal, State, or local authority of competent jurisdiction.

(4) Discharge or deposit of materials or other matter. (i) Discharging or depositing, from within the boundary of the Sanctuary, any material or other matter, except:

(A) Fish, fish parts, chumming materials, or bait used or produced incidental to and while conducting a traditional fishing activity in the Sanctuary;

(B) Water generated by routine vessel operations (e.g., deck wash down and graywater as defined in section 312 of the FWPCA), excluding oily wastes from bilge pumping; or

(C) Cooling water from vessels or engine exhaust;

(ii) Discharging or depositing, from beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary, any material or other matter that subsequently enters the Sanctuary and injures a Sanctuary resource or quality, except:

(A) Those listed in paragraph (a)(4)(i)(A) through (a)(4)(i)(C) of this section;

(B) Sewage incidental to vessel use and generated by a marine sanitation device approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1322 et seq.;

(C) Those authorized under Monroe County land use permits; or

(D) Those authorized under State permits.

(5) Operation of vessels. (i) Operating a vessel in such a manner as to strike or otherwise injure coral, seagrass, or any other immobile organism attached to the seabed, including, but not limited to, operating a vessel in such a manner as to cause prop-scarring.

(ii) Having a vessel anchored on living coral other than hardbottom in water depths less than 40 feet when visibility is such that the seabed can be seen.

(iii) Except in officially marked channels, operating a vessel at a speed greater than 4 knots or in manner which creates a wake:

(A) Within an area designated idle speed only/no wake;

(B) Within 100 yards of navigational aids indicating emergent or shallow reefs (international diamond warning symbol);

(C) Within 100 yards of the red and white “divers down” flag (or the blue and white “alpha” flag in Federal waters);

(D) Within 100 yards of residential shorelines; or

(E) Within 100 yards of stationary vessels.

(iv) Operating a vessel in such a manner as to injure or take wading, roosting, or nesting birds or marine mammals.

(v) Operating a vessel in a manner which endangers life, limb, marine resources, or property.

(vi) Having a marine sanitation device that is not secured in a manner that prevents discharges or deposits of treated and untreated sewage. Acceptable methods include, but are not limited to, all methods that have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (at 33 CFR 159.7(b) and (c)).

(6) Conduct of diving/snorkeling without flag. Diving or snorkeling without flying in a conspicuous manner the red and white “divers down” flag (or the blue and white “alpha” flag in Federal waters).

(7) Release of exotic species. Introducing or releasing an exotic species of plant, invertebrate, fish, amphibian, or mammals into the Sanctuary.

(8) Damage or removal of markers. Marking, defacing, or damaging in any way or displacing, removing, or tampering with any official signs, notices, or placards, whether temporary or permanent, or with any navigational aids, monuments, stakes, posts, mooring buoys, boundary buoys, trap buoys, or scientific equipment.

(9) Movement of, removal of, injury to, or possession of Sanctuary historical resources. Moving, removing, injuring, or possessing, or attempting to move, remove, injure, or possess, a Sanctuary historical resource.

(10) Take or possession of protected wildlife. Taking any marine mammal, sea turtle, or seabird in or above the Sanctuary, except as authorized by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended, (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., the Endangered Species Act, as amended, (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as amended, (MBTA) 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.

(11) Possession or use of explosives or electrical charges. Possessing, or using explosives, except powerheads, or releasing electrical charges within the Sanctuary.

(12) Harvest or possession of marine life species. Harvesting, possessing, or landing any marine life species, or part thereof, within the Sanctuary, except in accordance with rules 68B-42 of the Florida Administrative Code, and such rules shall apply mutatis mutandis (with necessary editorial changes) to all Federal and State waters within the Sanctuary.

(13) Interference with law enforcement. Interfering with, obstructing, delaying or preventing an investigation, search, seizure, or disposition of seized property in connection with enforcement of the Acts or any regulation or permit issued under the Acts.

(b) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in this section and in §922.164, and any access and use restrictions imposed pursuant thereto, a person may conduct an activity specifically authorized by, and conducted in accordance with the scope, purpose, terms, and conditions of, a National Marine Sanctuary permit issued pursuant to §922.166.

(c) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in this section and in §922.164, and any access and use restrictions imposed pursuant thereto, a person may conduct an activity specifically authorized by any valid Federal, State, or local lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization issued after the effective date of these regulations, provided that the applicant complies with §922.49, the Director notifies the applicant and authorizing agency that he or she does not object to issuance of the authorization, and the applicant complies with any terms and conditions the Director deems reasonably necessary to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities. Amendments, renewals and extensions of authorizations in existence on the effective date of these regulations constitute authorizations issued after the effective date of these regulations.

(d)(1) All military activities shall be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practical any adverse impacts on Sanctuary resources and qualities. The prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section and §922.164 do not apply to existing classes of military activities which were conducted prior to the effective date of these regulations, as identified in the Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan for the Sanctuary. New military activities in the Sanctuary are allowed and may be exempted from the prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section and in §922.164 by the Director after consultation between the Director and the Department of Defense pursuant to section 304(d) of the NMSA. When a military activity is modified such that it is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a Sanctuary resource or quality in a manner significantly greater than was considered in a previous consultation under section 304(d) of the NMSA, or it is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a Sanctuary resource or quality not previously considered in a previous consultation under section 304(d) of the NMSA, the activity is considered a new activity for purposes of this paragraph. If it is determined that an activity may be carried out, such activity shall be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practical any adverse impact on Sanctuary resources and qualities.

(2) In the event of threatened or actual destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Sanctuary resource or quality resulting from an untoward incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings caused by the Department of Defense, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Director for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to prevent, respond to or mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the Sanctuary resource or quality.

(e) The following prohibitions do not apply to Federal, State and local officers while performing enforcement duties in their official capacities or responding to emergencies that threaten life, property, or the environment:

(1) Those contained in paragraph (a)(4) of this section only as it pertains to discharges of sewage incidental to vessel use and generated by a marine sanitation device approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1322 et seq.; and

(2) Those contained in paragraph (a)(5) of this section.

(f) Notwithstanding paragraph (b) of this section and paragraph (a) of §922.168, in no event may the Director issue a permit under §922.166 authorizing, or otherwise approve, the exploration for, leasing, development, or production of minerals or hydrocarbons within the Sanctuary, the disposal of dredged material within the Sanctuary other than in connection with beach renourishment or Sanctuary restoration projects, or the discharge of untreated or primary treated sewage (except by a certification, pursuant to §922.167, of a valid authorization in existence on the effective date of these regulations), and any purported authorizations issued by other authorities after the effective date of these regulations for any of these activities within the Sanctuary shall be invalid.

(g) Any amendment to these regulations shall not take effect in Florida State waters until approved by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida. Any fishery regulations in the Sanctuary shall not take effect in Florida State waters until established by the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission.

[62 FR 32161, June 12, 1997, as amended at 74 FR 38094, July 31, 2009; 75 FR 72659, Nov. 26, 2010]

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