®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week
NMFS Finds that 82 Species of Coral May Be At Risk from Climate Change
On February 10, 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service announced in the Federal Register that NMFS has reached a 90-day finding on a petition to list 83 species of corals as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The petition is filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. NMFS found that CBD's petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted for 82 species. NMFS found that the petition fails to present substantial scientific or commercial information for one species, Oculina varicosa. Therefore, NMFS has initiated status reviews of 82 species of corals to determine if their listing as endangered or threatened under the ESA is warranted.
"asserts 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
petition also 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."
NMFS' Federal Register notice solicits scientific and commercial information from the public regarding these coral species. Information and comments must be submitted to NMFS by April 12, 2010.
NMFS specifically seeks public comment on the following issues:
"(1) Historical and current distribution and abundance of these
species throughout their ranges (U.S. and foreign waters);
Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice
(2) historic and current condition of these species and their
(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; and
(6) management programs for conservation of these coral species,
including mitigation measures related to any of the threats listed
under (5) above."