Posted by: reefrescue | February 10, 2010

More Florida corals in danger of extinction?

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces decision to consider adding 7 Atlantic and 75 Pacific coral species to the Endangered Species List. 

In the February 10, Federal Register the NMFS published their findings to proceed with a review to determine whether 82 species of coral warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The action was taken in response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). The petition asserts that the species are being affected by dredging, coastal development, coastal point source pollution, agricultural and land use practices, disease, predation, reef fishing, aquarium trade, physical damage from boats and anchors, marine debris, and aquatic invasive species. The petition contends that synergistic threats of ocean warming, ocean acidification, and other impacts affect these species, stating that immediate action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations to levels that do not jeopardize these species.

The seven species of Atlantic coral under consideration are found along the entire Florida reef tract stretching from the Dry Tortugas to Martin County and include: Mountainous Star Coral, Rough Cactus Coral, Lamarck’s Sheet Coral, Pillar Coral, Elliptical Star Coral, Boulder Star Coral and Montastraea franksi.

Deadline for public comment is April 12, 2010

NMFS has opened a 60–day public comment period to solicit information from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties on the status of these 82 coral species throughout their range, including:

(1) Historical and current distribution and abundance of these species throughout their ranges (U.S. and foreign waters);

(2) historic and current condition of these species and their habitat;

(3) population density and trends;

(4) the effects of climate change on the distribution and condition of these coral species and other organisms in coral reef ecosystems over the short- and long-term;

(5) the effects of other threats including dredging, coastal development, coastal point source pollution, agricultural and land use practices, disease, predation, reef fishing, aquarium trade, physical damage from boats and anchors, marine debris, and aquatic invasive species on the distribution and abundance of these coral species over the short- and long-term;

(6) management programs for conservation of these coral species, including mitigation measures related to any of the threats listed under (5) above.

NMFS will base their findings on a review of the best scientific and commercial information available, including all information received during the public comment period.

How to submit comments:

You may submit comments, information, or data, identified by the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 0648-XT12, by any of the following methods:

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov.

Mail: Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814 (for species occurring in the Pacific Ocean);

or Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (for species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean).

Facsimile (fax): (907) 586–7012 (for species occurring in the Pacific Ocean);

(727) 824–5309 (for species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean).

Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

Interested persons may obtain a copy of this coral petition from the above addresses or online from the NMFS HQ website: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ species/invertebrates

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lance Smith, NMFS Pacific Islands Region, (808) 944–2258;

Jennifer Moore, NMFS Southeast Region, (727) 824– 5312; or

Marta Nammack, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, (301) 713–1401

 

Links:

CBD petition to list corals: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/coral_conservation/pdfs/Coral_petition_10-20-09.pdf

NOAA Press Release: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100212_coral.html

February 10, 2010 Federal Register: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-2939.pdf

Florida’s seven corals:

Click on picture to enlarge

Photo source/credit:

Lamarck’s Sheet Coral: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/12/aafeature2

Boulder Star Coral: http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/reef_fish_photos/MONA

Mountainous Star Coral: http://reefguide.org/carib/index26.html

Pillar Coral: http://reefguide.org/carib/pixhtml/pillarcoral4.html

Elliptical Star Coral: http://reefguide.org/carib/pixhtml/ellipticalstarcoral1.html

Rough Cactus Coral: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/12/aafeature2

Montastraea franksi: http://www.solutions-site.org/artman/uploads/montastraea_franksi02_diver.jpg

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Responses

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  2. […] Also see: https://reefrescue.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/more-florida-corals-in-danger-of-extinction/ […]


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