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|About||Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Georgia's amazing underwater park!|
Our mission is to identify, protect, conserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources, values and qualities of the sanctuary for current and future generations.
Our vision is that Gray's Reef will
continue to be teeming with marine life that are supported by healthy habitats in clean ocean waters. The public will continue to care about Gray's Reef and will continue to want to protect it.
Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) protects a vibrant hard-bottom area off the Georgia coast. The reef’s scattered rocky outcroppings and ledges provide homes for an abundance of marine life. Crabs, lobsters, soft corals, sponges, sea stars and other organisms form a dense carpet of living creatures, covering the nooks and crannies of Gray's Reef and giving it the name “live bottom." The reef attracts more than 200 species of fish, including black sea bass, snappers, groupers and mackerels. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, forage and rest year-round at Gray's Reef, and the reef is within the only known winter calving ground for the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Gray's Reef also attracts people: recreational boaters, anglers and divers are among the sanctuary's user groups. The bottom 1/3 of Gray's Reef is a research area where fishing and diving are prohibited. Boats may transit across the research area as long as they don't stop and all fishing gear is stowed and unavailable for use. The research area is used exclusively for controlled scientific studies.
The 22-square-mile sanctuary is the only protected natural reef and one of a few natural marine protected areas in the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, given the sanctuary's remote location 16 miles east of Sapelo Island, Georgia, most people experience Gray's Reef through pictures or videos.
Unlike reefs built by corals, Gray’s Reef comprises scattered limestone rock outcroppings that stand above the sandy surface of the nearly flat continental shelf.
Photos of Gray's Reef!
Location of Gray's Reef.
Diving at Gray's Reef.
Fishing at Gray's Reef.