A remarkable consensus in Florida is pushing to set aside 185 square nautical miles near the Florida Keys to create the largest marine reserve in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. A proposal for the reserve emerged last month from an advisory committee representing a broad range of interests in the Florida Keys, including fishers, divers, scientists, and environmentalists. The proposed area includes ocean reefs and grass beds and is a major spawning ground for reed fish. Wildlife biologists say that if it were made a reserve and put off-limits to fishing, it could help repopulate depleted waters throughout the Keys. The plan still needs approval from regional, state, and federal authorities, but proponents are optimistic.

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