On Saturday, May 18th, students from Key Largo, FL, participated in a day of fishing at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This event was organized by the National Park Trust, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and NOAA.

Participants boarded a fishing charter boat where NOAA representatives taught them about the local marine sanctuary, the fish and wildlife that live there, and the importance of protecting this ecosystem. The students and their families learned how to fish and practiced their new catch-and-release skills, successfully catching multiple species of fish like yellowtail, strawberry groupers, and even a large gar! Each participant received their own fishing gear to use on future trips.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation provided funds to the National Park Trust to offer these fishing opportunities to elementary-aged students, military service members, and their families in national marine sanctuaries across the country. To read more about this outing, check out the press release.

This event at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the first of five fishing events at national marine sanctuaries nationwide taking place in 2024. The four other event locations will be Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in Texas, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California, Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in Maryland, and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California. These events aim to combine education and recreation, encouraging a greater appreciation for marine conservation and sustainable fishing practices.