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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XI
Chapter 161
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F.S. 161.72
161.72 Findings and intent.
(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) The oceans and coastal resources of the United States are of national importance;
(b) The United States Commission on Ocean Policy has made 212 recommendations, and the President has responded with an Ocean Action Plan to better protect and preserve our oceans;
(c) Florida’s ocean and coastal resources contribute significantly to the state economy by supporting multiple beneficial uses and a wide range of economic value that requires balancing of competing considerations;
(d) Florida’s oceans and coastal resources comprise habitats that support endangered and threatened species and extraordinary marine biodiversity;
(e) The coral reefs of southeast Florida and the barrier reef of the Florida Keys, the only barrier reef in the United States, are a national treasure and must continue to be protected;
(f) It is Florida’s responsibility to be a national leader on oceans and coastal protection;
(g) It is in the state’s best interest to ensure the productivity and health of our oceans and coastal resources;
(h) Florida’s marine biodiversity at the species, natural community, seascape, and regional levels must be protected by restoring, rehabilitating, and maintaining the quality and natural function of oceans and coastal resources through an ecosystem-based management approach, as recommended by the United States Commission on Ocean Policy;
(i) The quality of our beaches and fisheries resources must be protected to ensure the public health;
(j) Protection must be provided to highly migratory marine species, such as sea turtles and sea birds;
(k) Opportunities must be increased to provide natural resource-based recreation and encourage responsibility and stewardship through educational opportunities;
(l) Oceans and coastal research must be prioritized to ensure coordination among researchers and managers and long-term programs to observe, monitor, and assess oceans, and coastal resources must be developed and implemented;
(m) Development of coastal areas should be both economically and environmentally sustainable, and inappropriate growth in ecologically fragile or hazard-prone areas should be discouraged; and
(n) Conservation and restoration of coastal habitat could be enhanced through the development of regional and local goals, the institution of a program dedicated to coastal and estuarine conservation, better coordination of the state’s activities relating to habitat, and improved research, monitoring, and assessment.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to create the Oceans and Coastal Council to assist the state in identifying new management strategies to achieve the goal of maximizing the protection and conservation of ocean and coastal resources while recognizing their economic benefits.
(3) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the council shall encourage and support the development of creative public-private partnerships, pursue opportunities to leverage funds, and work in coordination with federal agencies and programs to maximize opportunities for the state’s receipt of federal funds.
History.s. 1, ch. 2005-166; s. 16, ch. 2006-1.