The following rules are codified as follows…
- Title 36. Parks, Forests, and Public Property
- Chapter I. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
- Part 7. SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM
§ 7.27 Dry Tortugas National Park.
(a) What terms do I need to know? The following definitions apply to this section only:
(1) Bait fish means any of the following:
(i) Ballyhoo (family Exocioetidae and genus Hemiramphus), other genus may be included in this family;
(ii) Minnow (families Cyprinodontidae, Peciliidae, or Aherinidae);
(iii) Mojarra (family Gerreidae);
(iv) Mullet (family Mugilidae);
(v) Pilchard (family Clupeidae); or
(vi) Pinfish (family Sparidae, genus Lagodon).
(2) Cast net means a type of circular falling net, weighted on its periphery, which is thrown and retrieved by hand, measuring 14 feet or less stretched length (stretched length is defined as the distance from the horn at the center of the net with the net gathered and pulled taut, to the lead line).
(3) Designated anchorage means any area of sand within one nautical mile of the Fort Jefferson Harbor Light.
(4) Dip net means a hand held device for obtaining bait, the netting of which is fastened in a frame. A dip net may not exceed 3 feet at its widest point.
(5) Finfish means a member of subclasses Agnatha, Chondrichthyes, or Osteichthyes.
(6) Flat wake speed means the minimum required speed to leave a flat wave disturbance close astern a moving vessel yet maintain steerageway, but in no case in excess of 5 statute miles per hour.
(7) Guide operations means the activity of a person, partnership, firm, corporation, or other entity to provide services for hire to visitors of the park. This includes, but is not limited to, fishing, diving, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing.
(8) Live rock means any living marine organism or assemblage thereof attached to a hard substrate, including dead coral or rock but not individual mollusk shells.
(9) Lobster means any of the following:
(i) Shovelnosed or Spanish Lobster (Scyllarides aequinocti);
(ii) Slipper lobster (Parribacus antarcticus);
(iii) Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus); or
(iv) Spotted spiny lobster (Panulirus guttatus).
(10) Marine life means:
(i) Sponges, sea anenomes, corals, jellyfish, sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, octopus, crabs, shrimp, barnacles, worms, conch; and
(ii) Other animals belonging to the Phyla Porifera, Cnidaria, Echinodermata, Mollusca, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda, Arthropoda, Platyhilmenthes, and Annelida.
(11) Not available for immediate use means not readily accessible for immediate use (e.g., by being stowed unbaited in a cabin, locker, rod holder, or similar storage area, or being securely covered and lashed to a deck or bulkhead).
(12) Ornamental tropical fish means a brightly colored fish, often used for aquarium purposes and which lives in close relationship to coral communities, belonging to the families Syngathidae, Apogonidae, Pomacentridae, Scaridae, Blennidae, Callionymidae, Gobiidae, Ostraciidae, or Diodontidae.
(13) Permit, in the case of 36 CFR part 7.27, means an authorization in writing or orally (e.g., via radio or telephonically).
(14) Research Natural Area (RNA) at Dry Tortugas National Park means the 46-square-statute-mile area in the northwest portion of the park enclosed by connecting with straight lines the adjacent points of 82°51′ W and 24°36′ N, and 82°58′ W and 24°36′ N west to the park boundary, but excluding:
(i) The designated anchorage;
(ii) Garden Key, Bush Key and Long Key; or
(iii) The central portion of Loggerhead key including the lighthouse and associated buildings.
(15)Shrimp means a member of the genus Farfantepenaeus, Penaeus sp.
(b) Are there recreational fishing restrictions that I need to know?
(1) Yes. After consulting with and obtaining the concurrence of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, based on management objectives and the park fisheries research, the Superintendent may impose closures and establish conditions or restrictions necessary pertaining to fishing, including, but not limited to, species of fish that may be taken, seasons, and hours during which fishing may take place, methods of taking, and size, bag, and possession limits. The public will be notified of any changes through one or more methods listed in § 1.7 of this chapter. In emergency situations, after consulting with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Superintendent may impose temporary closures and establish conditions or restrictions necessary, but not exceeding 30 days in duration which may be extended for one additional 30 day period, pertaining to fishing, including, but not limited to, species of fish that may be taken, seasons, and hours during which fishing may take place, methods of taking, and size, bag, and possession limits. In emergency situations where consultation in advance is not possible, the Superintendent will consult with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission within 24-hours of the initiation of the temporary closure or restriction.
(2) Only the following may be legally taken from Dry Tortugas National Park:
(i) Fin fish by closely attended hook-and-line;
(ii) Bait fish by closely attended hook and line, dip net, or cast net and limited to 5 gallons per vessel per day; and
(iii) Shrimp may be taken by dip net or cast net.
(3) The following waters and areas are closed to fishing:
(i) The Research Natural Area (RNA): Fish and fishing gear may be possessed aboard a vessel in the RNA, provided such fish can be shown not to have been harvested from within, removed from, or taken within the RNA, as applicable, by being stowed in a cabin, locker, or similar storage area prior to entering and during transit through the RNA, provided further that such vessel is in continuous transit through the RNA. Gear capable of harvesting fish may be aboard a vessel in the RNA, provided such gear is not available for immediate use when entering and during transit through the RNA and no presumption of fishing activity shall be drawn therefrom;
(ii) Garden Key moat;
(iii) Within any swimming and snorkeling areas designated by buoys;
(iv) Within 50 feet of the historic coaling docks;
(v) Helipad areas, including the gasoline refueling dock.
(4) The following are prohibited:
(i) Possessing lobster within the boundaries of the park, unless the individual took the lobster outside park waters and has the proper State/Federal licenses and permits. Vessels with legally taken lobster aboard which was taken outside the park may not have persons overboard in park waters. The presence of lobster aboard a vessel in park waters, while one or more persons from such vessel are overboard, constitutes prima facie evidence that the lobsters were harvested from park waters in violation of this chapter.
(ii) Taking fish by pole spear, Hawaiian sling, rubber powered, pneumatic, or spring loaded gun or similar device known as a speargun, air rifles, bows and arrows, powerheads, or explosive powered guns. Operators of vessels within the park must break down and store all weapons described in this paragraph so that they are not available for immediate use.
(iii) Use of a hand held hook, gig, gaff, or snare, except that a gaff may be used for landing a fish lawfully caught by hook and line when consistent with all requirements in this section, including size and species restrictions.
(iv) Taking, possessing, or touching any ornamental tropical fish or marine life except as expressly provided in this section.
(v) Dragging or trawling a dip net or cast net.
(vi) The use of nets except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3)(ii)and (iii) of this section.
(vii) Engaging in guide operations (fee for service), including but not limited to fishing and diving, except in accordance with the provisions of:
(A) A permit, contract, or other commercial use authorization; or
(B) Other written agreement with the United States administered under this chapter.
(c) Are any areas of the park closed to the public? Yes. The following areas are closed to the public:
(1) The elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora prolifera) coral patches adjacent to and including the tidal channel southeast of Long and Bush Keys and extending to 100 yards from the exterior edge of either patch;
(2) Hospital and Long Keys; and
(3) Areas that the Superintendent designates in accordance with § 1.5 and noticed to the public through one or more of the methods listed in § 1.7 of this chapter.
(d) What restrictions apply on Loggerhead Key?
(1) The Superintendent will, as necessary to protect park resources, visitors, or employees:
(i) Designate areas on Loggerhead Key open for public use;
(ii) Establish closures or restrictions on and around the waters of Loggerhead Key; and
(iii) Establish conditions for docking, swimming or wading, and hiking.
(2) The Superintendent will notify the public of designations, closures or restrictions through one or more of the methods listed in § 1.7 of this chapter.
(e)What restrictions apply to anchoring a vessel in the park?
(1) Anchoring in the Research Natural Area (RNA) is prohibited.
(2) All vessels in the RNA must use designated mooring buoys.
(3) Anchoring between sunset and sunrise is limited to the designated anchorage area at Garden Key.
(4) Vessels engaged in commercial fishing or shrimping must not anchor in any of the channels, harbors, or lagoons in the vicinity of Garden Key, Bush Key, or the surrounding shoals outside of Bird Key Harbor, except in cases of emergency involving danger to life or property. (Emergencies may include, adverse weather conditions, mechanical failure, medical emergencies, or other public safety situations.)
(f) What vessel operations are prohibited? The following vessel operations are prohibited:
(1) Operating a vessel in the Fort Jefferson Moat; and
(2) Operating a vessel above a flat wake speed in the Garden Key and Bird Key Harbor areas.
(g) What restrictions apply to discharging materials in park waters?
(1) Discharging or depositing materials or substances of any kind within the boundaries of the park is prohibited, except for the following:
(i) Research Natural Area: cooling water or engine exhaust.
(ii)Park Waters Outside the Research Natural Area:
(A) Fish, fish parts, chumming materials, or bait used or produced incidental to and while conducting recreational fishing activities in the park;
(B) Water generated by routine vessel operations (e.g., deck wash down and graywater from sinks, consisting of only water and food particles;
(C)Vessel cooling water, engine exhaust, or bilge water not contaminated by oil or other substances.
(2) The Superintendent may impose further restrictions as necessary to protect park resources, visitors, or employees. The Superintendent will notify the public of these requirements through one or more of the methods listed in § 1.7 of this chapter.
(h) What are the permit requirements in the park?
(1) A permit, issued by the Superintendent, is required for all non-commercial vessels for which occupants are engaged in recreational activities, including all activities in the RNA. Permitted recreational activities include but are not limited to use of mooring buoys, snorkeling, diving, wildlife viewing, and photography.
(2) A permit, issued by the Superintendent, is required for a person, group, institution, or organization conducting research activities in the park.
(3) Vessels transiting the park without interruption shall not require a permit.
(i) How are corals and other underwater natural features protected in the park?
(1) Taking, possessing, removing, damaging, touching, handling, harvesting, disturbing, standing on, or otherwise injuring coral, coral formation, seagrass or other living or dead organisms, including marine invertebrates, live rock, and shells, is prohibited.
(2) Vessel operators are prohibited from allowing their vessel to strike, injure, or damage coral, seagrass, or any other immobile organism attached to the seabed.
(3) Vessel operators are prohibited from allowing an anchor, chain, rope or other mooring device to be cast, dragged, or placed so as to strike, break, abrade, or otherwise cause damage to coral formations, sea grass, or submerged cultural resources.
(j) What restrictions apply on or near shipwrecks?
(1) No person may destroy, molest, remove, deface, displace, or tamper with wrecked or abandoned vessels of any type or condition, or any cargo pertaining thereto.
(2) Surveying, inventorying, dismantling, or recovering any wreck or cargo within the boundaries of the park is prohibited unless permitted in writing by the Superintendent.
(k) How are aircraft operations restricted?
(1) Landing an aircraft in Dry Tortugas National Park may occur only in accordance with a permit issued by the Superintendent under § 1.6 of this chapter.
(2) When landing is authorized by permit, the following requirements also apply:
(i) Aircraft may be landed on the waters within a radius of 1 mile of Garden Key, but a landing or takeoff may not be made within 500 feet of Garden Key, or within 500 feet of any closed area.
(ii) Operation of aircraft is subject to § 2.17 of this chapter, except that seaplanes may be taxied closer than 500 feet to the Garden Dock while en route to or from the designated ramp, north of the dock.
(iii) Seaplanes may be moored or brought up on land only on the designated beach, north of the Garden Key dock.
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