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In an effort to preserve the natural beauty and environment of their respective ports, residents of Key West and Venice have formed a committee that aims to prevent oversize cruise ships from docking nearby each city.

The committee, Comitato No Grandi Navi, issued a statement last week that presents its position on the effect large cruise ships have on the two tourist sites.

“The scale of the vessels far exceeds anything that these historic ports were built to accommodate, and their sheer size overwhelms the historic setting, diminishing the visual appeal and sense of place,” the report said.

Environmental activists in Key West said they appreciate the extra support from the Venetians, especially as the sunny island city debates dredging its ship channel to allow the passage of larger cruise ships.

Critics of Comitato No Grandi Navi’s position state that Key West has already lost a significant portion of its cruise ship business, claiming that the island sees only 700,000 cruise ship passengers annually as opposed to the 1,000,000 it received in 2003.

Key West residents can attend a presentation on Wednesday, held by Citizens for Responsible Tourism, which will explore the dredging referendum in more depth. The organization will discuss the cruise industry’s effect on the local economy and environment, and will open a public forum on Thursday.