The New York Times, November 30, 2012
Agency Seeks Protection for 66 Corals Under the Endangered Species Act
By Andrew C. Revkin
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, prompted by a lawsuit from an environmental group, has proposed federal protection for 66 species of coral under the Endangered Species Act. Here are the basics from the agency:
NOAA Fisheries is proposing Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings for 66 coral species: 59 in the Pacific and seven in the Caribbean.
- In the Pacific, seven species would be listed as endangered and 52 as threatened.
- In the Caribbean, five would be listed as endangered and two as threatened.
- In addition, we are proposing that two Caribbean species—elkhorn and staghorn corals—already listed under the ESA be reclassified from threatened to endangered.
In 2009, NOAA received a petition to list 83 species of reef-building corals under the ESA from the Center for Biological Diversity. On February 10, 2010, NOAA found that the Center presented substantial information indicating that listing under the ESA may be warranted for 82 of the 83 petitioned species.
Following the initial finding, NOAA convened a Biological Review Team to initiate a formal status review of the 82 species. The result was a Status Review Report, released in April 2012. The peer-reviewed report incorporated and summarized the best available scientific and commercial data to date.
Click here for the news release from the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit that prompted the review and action by the agency. Staghorn and elkhorn corals, two species that were granted threatened status under the species law in 2006 after an initial push by the nonprofit group, were among the 12 species proposed for the more protective listing of endangered today.
Here are some helpful links provided by the fisheries agency:
Federal Register Notice—11/30/12
Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet
Status Review Report of 82 Candidate Coral Species—Examines the biology of, threats to, and extinction risk of 82 coral species.
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This article originally appeared here.