Coral Species Proposed for Endangered Species Act Listing
News Release from NOAA
NOAA announced on Friday, November 30th its proposal to list 66 species of corals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Details on the proposed listing are available on the NOAA Fisheries website at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html. A period of public comment on the proposed rule and further agency deliberation are now underway with the final NOAA decision to be made next year.
The proposal to list the 66 species was aided by a Status Review prepared in 2011 by a Biological Review Team of federal experts headed by a PIFSC scientist. The Status Review report can be downloaded here. In addition, PIFSC led a special scientific workshop last summer to gather further information on the coral species. The workshop report can be found here.
AP: Feds propose adding corals to endangered list
More than 40 of the corals are in American Samoa waters. Three are in Hawaii waters, either around the main Hawaiian Islands or in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Two of the Hawaii species are found only in Hawaiian archipelago.
Overall, the agency wants to list 59 species in the Pacific — seven as endangered, 52 as threatened. In the Caribbean, it says five should be listed as endangered and two as threatened.
Listing species would not prohibit people from fishing or diving near coral, but they may outlaw harming, wounding, killing or collecting the species. Such rules wouldn't be automatic, but could be established.
The fisheries service will be seeking public feedback on the proposal over the next 90 days. It will accept comment online and at meetings in 18 locations in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Florida and other areas.