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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Accepting Applications for
2nd Lionfish Invitational

Lad Akins holding up the largest lionfish caught during the 2015 Lionfish Invitational.

In August/September 2015, trained volunteers and research partners conducted fish surveys and removed 317 lionfish from FGBNMS as part of the first ever Lionfish Invitational.

Now, we're planning for Invitational #2!

Complete eradication of invasive lionfish is not an option with current technology, given the species’ broad depth distribution (surface to 1000 feet) and rapidly growing populations. However, control at the local scale has been proven to be successful.

Building on these successes, FGBNMS will be working with a number of partners to use trained divers to help conduct research and remove invasive lionfish within the sanctuary.

Collection permits will be issued for a four-day lionfish research cruise on board the recreational dive charter M/V FLING for August 28-September 1, 2016. Cost for the trip will be $750 per person.

For more details about this Diving for Research trip or to apply, download the 2016 Lionfish Invitational Application.

Deadline for applications is May 31, 2016.

Ocean Discovery Day A Crowd Pleaser!

Visitors helped us recreate this mural on March 12th.

The annual Ocean Discovery Day open house at the NOAA Galveston Lab was another rousing success! Over 4,000 people visited us on Saturday, March 12th to paint a coral reef mural, see live sea turtles, explore coral reefs, learn how to save dolphins, run an obstacle course, discover maritime history, and more!

If you didn't get to visit with us this year, stay tuned for next year's date. We'll post it here, to the website Calendar of Events, as soon as it's decided.

In the meantime, you can see images from the event or sign up for one of our email lists to stay up to date with sanctuary happenings.

See 2016 Ocean Discovery Day Photos

Sign up for Sanctuary Updates

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

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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