Posted by: reefrescue | November 12, 2009

The Devil is in the Details

Breakers Shallow Reef to go without federal protection if the Town of Palm Beach gets their way

The Palm Beach Daily News article posted below (see Reef Rescue 11/11/09 blog) might give one the impression the Town of Palm Beach is acquiescing to federal critical habitat protection for ESA listed corals off their coastline. Not quite true – the devil is in the details. The town council has only agreed to what they know will inevitably be taken away from them by the National Marine Fisheries Service. They still refuse to give up their objection to habitat protections for inshore reefs such as Breakers Shallow and miles of offshore barrier reefs.

The Town of Palm Beach agreed to back down on their opposition to federal critical habitat protection for Bath & Tennis Reef; location of the largest stand of ESA listed staghorn coral in Palm Beach County and the barrier reefs (Breakers Deep) for two miles north of B&T Reef. An additional 4 miles of offshore reefline will go unprotected if NMFS were to accept the town’s position.

Also off the table, if the Town of Palm Beach gets their way, is federal protection for Breakers Shallow Reef, which according to a Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission press release is: “…a popular local dive and snorkel spot, approximately one-half mile directly offshore of the Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach.  This diverse shallow reef is home to sponges, hard corals and abundant marine life, including protected species.” 

As of today over 1,000 emails have been sent to the Town of Palm Beach asking them to withdraw their objections to the critical habitat protections for the ESA listed staghorn coral.

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Breakers Shallow link:

Wildlife Foundation of Florida Breakers Shallow link:

Breakers Shallow Reef




  1. The reefs off Palm Beach might finally get the type of protection that is long overdue, but we urgently need your help. Help us locate any Staghorn coral, dead or alive, in the Palm Beach area in less than 45 feet of water or north of the Lake Worth inlet. If you have seen this endangered species of coral, please let us know the LOCATION (do not remove the coral!). As a reward we will give you a free two-tank dive on Deep Obsession.

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