school of fish behind title Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
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Close up view of Christmas tree worms protruding from a coral head

Welcome to a very special place...

Picture yourself over 100 miles from land, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. At times, the seas can be very unforgiving, and the weather can turn foul in an instant. But here, in the midst of this unpredictable Gulf, lie three of the most beautiful and wild places in all the world. Manta rays, whale sharks, coral heads bigger than cars, hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates... This place teems with life!

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Shark Week 2015

recreational fishing boat in sanctuary

Sharks are an important part of the ocean food web, and there are plenty to be found in the sanctuary.

This Sandbar Shark is a regular visitor at Stetson Bank, but you may also see Nurse Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, and even Whale Sharks on any visit to the sanctuary.

This year, instead of being afraid, try learning more about sharks and learning to appreciate what amazing creatures they are. They've been around a lot longer than we have!

Sanctuary Shark List with Photos

Mass Coral Spawning

Star coral spawning at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Every year, 7-10 days after the full moon in August, the reef-building corals of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary put on a fantastic spawning display, one of the most abundant displays in the entire Caribbean. It's like an underwater snowstorm!

This year, the spawning prediction is for August 6-9. Since it's early in August, there may also be a second spawning around September 4-7.

More spawning information...

Underwater Snowstorm video (English)

Nieves Submarinas video (Spanish)

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
4700 Avenue U, Building 216
Galveston, TX 77551
p) 409-621-5151
f) 409-621-1316
flowergarden@noaa.gov

Two-toned blue dashed line

French angelfish in foreground; large boulder corals in background.  French angelfish is dinner plate size oval shaped, blue body with body scales bright yellow on their edges.
   
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves