MONROE COUNTY -- The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for seven primary members and six alternates on its advisory council.

The council ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

"Advisory council members provide important connections to the community, helping inform sanctuary management decisions," said Sean Morton, sanctuary superintendent. "Council members selected this term will play a critical role in helping shape the future of marine conservation during the sanctuary's marine zoning and regulatory review."

The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following seats: boating industry (primary member); citizen-at-large, Upper Keys (primary member and alternate); diving, Upper Keys (primary member and alternate); fishing, charter sports fishing (primary member and alternate); fishing, recreational (primary member and alternate); research and monitoring (primary member and alternate); and tourism, Lower Keys (primary member and alternate).

Candidates are selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding the protection and management of marine resources. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve three-year terms, pursuant to the council's charter.

The advisory council consists of 40 primary and alternate members representing a variety of public interest groups. It also includes primary and alternate representatives from 11 government agencies.

Applications are due Sept. 30. To receive an application kit, or for further information, contact Hannah Weddington by email at hannah.weddington@noaa.gov or by phone at (305) 809-4700 ext. 241, or by mail at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 33 East Quay Road, Key West, Fla., 33040. Application kits may also be downloaded from the sanctuary's website at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov.