National Marine Fisheries Service finds over fifty coral species in U.S. waters face extinction by century’s end … requests public comment.
SAN FRANCISCO–(ENEWSPF)–April 13 – Without help, more than 50 coral species in U.S. waters are likely to go extinct by the end the century, primarily because of ocean warming, disease and ocean acidification, a government report said today. The National Marine Fisheries Service released a status review of 82 corals that are being considered for protections under the Endangered Species Act following a 2009 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Coral reefs are at real risk of vanishing in our lifetimes if we don’t act fast,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act has saved hundreds of species from extinction, but these corals will only benefit if they’re actually protected.”
Of the 82 corals, 56 are likely to be extinct before 2100, the report said. The corals are in U.S. waters, ranging from Florida and Hawaii to U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. The report notes that the seven Florida and Caribbean corals are extremely likely to go extinct, and five of those corals ranked in the top seven of most imperiled overall. Two Florida corals (Elkhorn and Staghorn) are already protected under the Endangered Species Act
The Fisheries Service is accepting comments on the coral status review and management reports until July 31, 2012. Pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Center, the Fisheries Service will make a determination on whether listing is warranted for the corals by Dec. 1, 2012. In 2006, the Center secured protection for staghorn and elkhorn corals, making them the first — and so far, only — corals listed under the Endangered Species Act. (read more)
For more information about these corals and how to submit comments, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/4_13_12corals_petition.html
Deadline for comment is July 31, 2012.
All are found in Palm Beach County and along the Florida Reef Tract