The southern third of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 22-sqmi Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the Georgia coast was designated a research area, where scientists can study how human activities and natural processes affect the sanctuary’s marine resources. The new designation will take effect after a 45-day Congressional review.
This new research area is specifically designed for conducting controlled scientific studies where human activities cannot affect the results. Fishing and diving will be prohibited in the lightly used, 8-sqmi research area, which currently hosts no commercial fishing. Vessels will be permitted to travel through it without stopping.