NOAA Proposes 66 Corals for Endangered Species Protection

Pillar coral in the Florida Keys: NOAAPillar coral in the Florida Keys: NOAA

Today NOAA proposed listing 66 species of reef-building corals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): 59 species in the Pacific (7 as endangered, 52 as threatened); 7 in the Caribbean (5 as endangered, 2 as threatened). The agency is also proposing that two Caribbean species already listed be reclassified from threatened to endangered. (You can see the full species list here.)

Today’s proposal is part of an ongoing response to a 2009 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to list 83 species of reef-building corals under the ESA. 

NOAA identifies 19 threats to the future of corals, including the ecological impacts of fishing and poor land-use practices. But first and foremost are three daunting problems related to the continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions and a changing climate:

 

David Burdick / NOAA via FlickrDavid Burdick / NOAA via Flickr

Corals are biodiversity factories providing home and shelter to more than 25 percent of fish in the ocean and up to two million marine species. Their direct economic and social benefits are wide ranging, with one independent study finding they provide some $483 million in annual net benefit to the US economy from tourism and recreation and a combined annual net benefit from all goods and services of about $1.1 billion.

The annual commercial value of US fisheries from coral reefs is more than $100 million annually, with reef-based recreational fisheries generating another $100 million a year.

Following NOAA’s proposal there will be a 90-day public comment period (you can submit a comment here) including 18 public meetings (schedule here, more will be added) before the listing is finalized in late 2013.  

 

Full reports downloadable here.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.