Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project

Banner that says JOIN US BRINGING HOPE TO FLORIDA’S CORAL REEF!  Welcome to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’  Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project

What’s the easiest way to do your part and make a HUGE impact on our backyard reef?

Visit an AZA-Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project facility near you!

What is the Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project?

The AZA-Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project (AZA-FRTRP) is an AZA member-driven coral rescue and conservation network focused on the rescue, housing and future propagation of Florida corals affected by stony coral tissue loss disease.

Why was the FRTRP created?

In summer 2018, following the development of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response Team network and while the Florida Coral Rescue Plan was being developed, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified AZA member facilities as the only U.S. entities having the skills, expertise and resources to receive and manage Florida corals rescued from the Florida Reef Tract as part of the plan’s coral rescue activities. AZA created the FRTRP in response to that invitation in November 2019.

Who is the FRTRP?

The FRTRP membership includes 20 zoos and aquariums managing 19 rescue coral holding facilities located in 12 U.S. states, including Disney, The Florida Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and SeaWorld. These four facilities in Florida provide leadership to the network of coral holding facilities.

Image of a Map of Coral Holding Facilities

There are seven additional rescue coral holding facilities that collaborate with the FRTRP. Over 50 additional AZA-accredited facilities, commercial partners, universities, community colleges, state and federal agencies contribute to the support and success of the rescue facilities. 

How does the FRTRP support the Florida Coral Rescue Plan?

The AZA-FRTRP provides support in the following ways:

  • Manages a network of coral biologists, professional aquarists, veterinarians, field scientist that work to develop the science, technology and resources necessary for optimum long- term care and welfare of rescued Florida corals.
  • Collaborates with coral conservation entities to ensure strong communications about the disease, the response and what is needed for the rescue plan’s success.
  • Facilitates the recruitment of material resources, funds, and technology to sustain and enhance coral holding operations at AZA-FRTRP member facilities.
  • Provides a conduit of international exchange and support to promote timely and efficient response to the disease in other affected regions.
What is FRTRP’s conservation impact?

Since early 2019 AZA-accredited facilities across the country have been working together and with Florida State and Federal agencies, universities and coral conservation groups to rescue nearly 2000 corals and provide safekeeping of them in facilities across the country.

The essential care and health management provided by AZA facilities to rescued corals is the foundation of Florida Reef Tract restoration efforts to come. Restoration efforts cannot take place without the work of our AZA facilities.

THE AZA-FRTRP Coral Aquarist Program

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project is please to announce the Coral Aquarist Program. This program is the latest collaborative effort bringing hope to Florida’s Coral Reef.

The Coral Aquarist Program has been developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project (AZA-FRTRP) to meet the ever-increasing need for experienced and  knowledgeable coral aquarists and conservation practitioners. The program seeks to build this professional resource and uses the care of rescued Atlantic coral brood stock and management of coral gene banks created in response to stony coral tissue loss disease as a case study.

As of March 27, 2023 the Call for Participation in the 2023 class is closed. Those participants selected from the applications submitted will be announced in the coming weeks.


Florida Coral Reef Government Partners


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