Petition to List 83 Species of Corals as Threatened/Endanger

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Anonymous

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Caterham":1ehn3z52 said:
This planet froze into a ball of ice more than once and the corals are still here. This is a fact.

Not really - too many fuzzy words in there. The corals that were under the ice are not still here (alive), and the corals (most of them) that are still here would not survive under the ice. Better would be 'The corals that survived previous ice ages developed over time into the corals that we see today'.

What is this Global Warming that people speak of? Is it a theory or is if fact?

http://wilstar.com/theories.htm

Theory: A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. Unfortunately, even some scientists often use the term "theory" in a more colloquial sense, when they really mean to say "hypothesis." That makes its true meaning in science even more confusing to the general public.

...

A simple analogy can be made using a slingshot and an automobile.

A scientific law is like a slingshot. A slingshot has but one moving part--the rubber band. If you put a rock in it and draw it back, the rock will fly out at a predictable speed, depending upon the distance the band is drawn back.

An automobile has many moving parts, all working in unison to perform the chore of transporting someone from one point to another point. An automobile is a complex piece of machinery. Sometimes, improvements are made to one or more component parts. A new set of spark plugs that are composed of a better alloy that can withstand heat better, for example, might replace the existing set. But the function of the automobile as a whole remains unchanged.

A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole.
 

Caterham

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Thales,

You are exactly right. Thanks for the reply! You said exactly what I was trying to but screwed up the words.

Indeed, Global Warming is a theory. Thanks for the clarification.
 

PeterIMA

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NOAA Response to Dr. Shinn's posting on Coral List

Subj: [Coral-List] NOAA CRCP and TNC Partnership: Setting the Record Straight
Date: 9/29/2010 4:44:19 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Kacky.Andrews@noaa.gov
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


I feel the need to respond to Gene Shinn's posting about the partnership
between NOAA and TNC on issues concerning coral reef conservation. The
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has a multi-year cooperative
agreement with TNC to provide technical assistance, training and
capacity building to managers in the states and territories. This
cooperative agreement was awarded through a competitive process via a
published notice in the Federal Register. TNC provides a 50% match for
NOAA funding under this agreement. A cooperative agreement is different
than a grant because it requires "substantial federal involvement."
Working together toward common goals with each party contributing equal
amounts--this meets my definition of partnership. This partnership
between CRCP and TNC does not include any work associated with any
changes in law, creating or amending any regulations or any work on the
petition to list 82 species. Linking the job posting to any of these is
factually incorrect and misleading.

_______________________________________________
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
 

spawner

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Caterham":3si7qiiw said:
Thales,

You are exactly right. Thanks for the reply! You said exactly what I was trying to but screwed up the words.

Indeed, Global Warming is a theory. Thanks for the clarification.


It's unfortunate that Theories & Laws and such words are so misunderstood. You still are not applying the term correctly.

Gravity is not a Theory, gravity exists/happens and should be thought of as a fact, a fact which is explained in part (mostly) by Newton's Theory of Gravitation. Evolution is a process, it happens and is explained in part by Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. We can go round and round about these processes but they still happen. Try my suggested experiment if you wish to disagree with Newton.

We are quickly putting the earth into a state to which it has not been in millions of years by liberating stored Carbon back into the environment. You and/or your children will get to see the exact fate of that liberation. Then we can explain it to you better after it has happened and everyone asked how it was possible. The earth will not be affected by these actions, but everything living on it will. So sit back and enjoy the ride.


Peter, thanks for posting the coral-list posts here. It is very informative for many that are not on the list-serve.
 
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Will you guys tell us if the petition gets accepted? I have been watching this with interest.
 

PeterIMA

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Here is what I submitted to NOAA/NMFS when they solicited public comment.

From: Dr. Peter J. Rubec
Organization: East Asian Seas and Terrestrial Initiatives (Philippines NGO active in the Philippines and Indonesia).
Address: 2800 4th Street North, Suite 123, Saint Petersburg, FL 33704, USA.

Petition to List 83 species of corals on the Endangered Species List under the US Endangered Species Act.
As described in the Federal Register Notice published February 10, 2010, NOAA/NMFS requested information to assist in reviewing the status of 82 coral species for which they made a positive 90-day finding under the ESA in response to the petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). The types of information solicited included:

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

REPLY: The petition from CBD briefly summarizes the description, taxonomy, natural history, distribution, and status for each petitioned species, and discusses the status of each oceanic basin's coral reefs. Most of the CBD submission was taken from Corals of the World (Veron and Stafford-Smith 2000) and from the IUCN Red List. Much of this information is qualitative rather than quantitative, since only a very small proportion of the coral reefs have received quantitative underwater surveys.

The maps presented in the petition show that many of the Indo-Pacific species have very broad ranges stretching from east Africa in the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. Some also extend to the Hawaiian Islands. While the spatial distributions of the various species are known in general terms, detailed quantitative data concerning the spatial distributions and relative abundances of each species across the geographic ranges of each coral species in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans does not exist. Historical versus current distributions is also qualitative (based on the opinions of various scientists familiar with the species in various regions).

(2) Historic and current condition of these species and their habitat;
REPLY: The petition provides a summary of published and grey-literature information. It is generally believed that many coral reefs are becoming degraded and are in poorer condition now in comparison to the conditions that were observed by various scientists back to the 1950’s. On a species-specific basis most of the information concerning the condition of the petitioned coral species appears to have been taken from the IUCN Red List. The paper in Science by Carpenter et al. (2008) is the collective opinions of a number of coral reef scientists, knowledgeable about the species in various geographic regions. They also used information from the IUCN Red List. The IUCN classifications (Endangered, Threatened, Vulnerable etc.) are based on expert-opinions rather than quantitative data derived from surveys over the respective ranges of each species.

Many factors that could contribute to declines in the condition of coral species are very localized and cannot account for the widespread declines in the condition of so many species reported by Carpenter et al. (2008). “Of the 704 species that could be assigned conservation status, 32.8% are in categories of elevated risk of extinction. Declines in abundance are associated with bleaching and diseases driven by sea surface temperatures, with extinction risk further exacerbated by local-scale anthropogenic disturbances….The Caribbean has the largest proportion of corals in high extinction risk categories, whereas the Coral Triangle has the largest proportion of species in all categories of elevated extinction risk”.

(3) Population density and trends;
REPLY-My understanding is that there is very little data available on population densities and trends for many of these coral species. Most data that does exist comes from localized studies which are not representative of densities and trends across the geographic ranges of the petitioned species.

Many species of corals never were abundant. Some are quite cryptic making it difficult to know whether they are present or not. It may be normal for the species not to be abundant. Without quantitative surveys over time across the species range, it is difficult to know whether a coral species has declined in abundance over time.

(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;
REPLY- El Ninos have contributed to localized sea surface temperature (SST) warming (hot spots) monitored by NOAA’s National Weather Service and presumably other agencies worldwide. The warming of the sea surface (SST anomalies) at varying times have been shown to lead to bleaching of coral reefs in many parts of the world. Hence, there is good data to support the assertion that climate change is contributing to changes in the distributions and conditions of these species. I leave it to the coral reef scientists involved to provide bibliographic documentation to support this assertion.

Carpenter et al. (2008) noted “In the eastern tropical Pacific, a high proportion of corals have been affected by warming events. However, subsequent monitoring has shown reefs are recovering in most areas across the region. Indian Ocean corals were the most affected by the 1998 warming event with two subsequent bleaching events in some places…. Other reefs are recovering their structure, but the time to complete recovery may range to decades and will be highly dependent on future climatic and local disturbance regimes.”

The effects of declines in the condition of the coral reefs on associated organisms (e.g., fish) were not discussed by Carpenter et al. (2008). It is well known that healthy coral reefs support higher standing crops of fish, invertebrates, and other organisms than degraded coral reefs (Rubec 1988, DeVantier et al. 2004).

(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

REPLY-There is no doubt that the other threats mentioned above can impact coral reefs. But, most of the impacts are usually very localized. So, it is doubtful that they can be used to designate any of the coral species under consideration as threatened or endangered under the ESA. The only case where one could argue that such threats could impact any of the coral species under consideration would be where the species in question is known to only occur in a very limited area (limited range) that would be impacted by various anthropogenic practices (e.g., dredging, coastal development, point source pollution etc). To my knowledge, none of the 82 species of corals under review meet this criterion (limited range in area of high anthropogenic impact).

The CBD (2010) noted “The burgeoning live fish trade poses a serious threat to coral reef ecosystems worldwide (Vincent 2006). Most of the species sought after for the live fish market come directly from reefs. Targeted species are long-lived and late maturing, rendering them particularly vulnerable to high harvest levels. Cyanide poisoning is a very common method of live fish harvest, despite its associated high mortality rates during capture, holding, and transport. Global trade in live food fish was estimated to be 30,000-50,000 tonnes per year in the
late 1990s, with total estimated extraction of roughly double that amount due to high handling
and transportation mortality (Vincent 2006).”

The CBD (2010) also noted “As demand has increased, wild fish populations [mostly grouper species] have declined dramatically and fish extraction efforts are now occurring in most countries of the Indo-Pacific and at ever greater distances from the consumption hub of Hong Kong. Live fish are also increasingly exported to Australia, the United States, and many Southeast and Eastern Asian countries with large ethnic Chinese populations. Current levels of live fish production throughout Southeast Asia and the Maldives significantly exceed estimates of sustainable extraction.”

The use of cyanide for the capture of marine aquarium fish (MAF) (Rubec 1986) and live reef fish (LRF) (Johannes and Riepen 1995, Pratt 1996, Barber and Pratt 1997, Rubec 1997) is believed to have markedly contributed to the degradation of coral reefs in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Other countries mentioned by Barber and Pratt (1997) may also have been affected by the use of cyanide in the LRF trade. Scientific evidence that cyanide kills corals is provided by Cervino et al. (2003). The use of cyanide in the MAF and LRF trades appears to have had widespread geographic effects that could have affected certain species of corals (some of which may be ones listed by the CBD in the present petition).

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

REPLY-Cyanide testing conducted by the International Marinelife Alliance (IMA) from 1993 to 2001 under contract to the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) needs to be reinstated to help stop cyanide fishing in the countries where cyanide fishing is rampant (Rubec et al. 2003, Rubec et al. 2008).

Rubec et al. (2001) advocated mapping coastal habitats and zoning to help protect habitats (like mangroves and coral reefs). Territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) can be implemented to support community-based livelihoods related to fisheries and to mariculture. Corals, giant clams, and artificial live rock can be cultured on lease-sites (TURFs). Some of the corals can be exported to the aquarium trade to create income for local communities, while the remainder can be used to support restoration of coral reefs (Rubec et al. 2001, Rubec and Palacol 2002).

A coral farm was created in Barangay Cow-ay on Orlango Island in the Philippines by Dr. Thomas Heeger in 1998. It was managed by the IMA from 2000-2003 (Rubec and Palacol 2002). However, it was not possible for the community to benefit because the export of corals was illegal. More recently, the East Asian Seas and Terrestrial Initiatives (EASTI) and Telapak (an Indonesian NGO) assisted fishers in Serangan (Bali, Indonesia) to create a coral farm. Artificial live rock (created from concrete and tufa rock) is being placed in the ocean. After about 4-6 months the rock encrusted with algae is harvested and exported to Europe and the North American buyers. More recently Telapak obtained a CITES export permit that presently allows corals grown from fragments on the coral farm by the cooperative to be exported.

EASTI has developed an integrated monitoring/management strategy called CBuGs, which stands for Community, Business, Government, and Science (Rubec et al. 2009). By working collaboratively with community-based NGOs, government agencies at the local and national levels, and business partners, EASTI seeks to help implement alternative livelihood programs. For example, EASTI has worked with Telapak to help a cooperative culture corals on a farm in Serangan (Bali, Indonesia). Fisheries and mariculture can be managed by communities and/or municipalities through zoning and licensing.

If the 82 species of corals under review by NOAA/NMFS get listed under the ESA, the import of all corals (alive and/or cured) to the United States may become illegal. Most of the corals listed under the CBD petition are difficult to identify to species. Hence, the ESA listing may limit the import of all coral species (because it is not feasible for USFWS and/or US Customs to distinguish the species protected by ESA from other coral species).

While the trade in corals is covered under CITES, putting these coral species under the ESA could create a bureaucratic nightmare that unfairly penalizes the aquarium trade. It could become illegal to farm corals in the USA, and illegal to ship corals into or within the USA. Retail stores and even aquarium hobbyists could be prosecuted for possessing any of these coral species.

With respect to Indonesia and Vietnam and other countries in the South Pacific, efforts to farm corals to support exports for the aquarium trade to the USA will most probably be affected. I believe that corals are a resource that needs to be managed by the host countries where corals occur. Local people can benefit from the sale of corals to the aquarium trade. Income obtained from the export of corals and other coral reef related products are important for local communities in the host countries.

Indonesia is in the process of legalizing coral farming and making wild harvest illegal. Legalizing coral farming can only work if the corals reared from fragments can be exported to provide income to local communities. Regulations need to be put in place, which require communities to rehabilitate coral reefs using excess corals from the coral farms.

I think it is unfair for the USA under ESA to deprive the host countries of their right to manage the coral trade through CITES quotas. If these species are threatened and endangered (due mostly to climate change) actions to deal with the problem need to come from the countries of origin where these species occur.

References Cited

Barber, C.V., and V.R. Pratt. 1997. Sullied Seas: Strategies for Combating Cyanide Fishing in Southeast Asia and Beyond. International Marinelife Alliance, 15 pp.

Carpenter, K.E., M. Abrar, G. Aeby, R.B. Aronson, S. Banks, A. Bruckner, A.Chiriboga, J. Cortes, J.C. Delbeek,, L. DeVantier, G.J. Edgar, A. J. Edwards, D. Fenner, H.M. Guzman, B.W. Hoeksema, G. Hodgson, O. Johan, W.Y. Licuanan, S.R. Livingstone, E.R. Lovell, J.A. Moore, D.O. Obura, D. Ochavillo, B.A. Polidoro, W.F. Precht, M.C. Quibilan, C. Reboton, Z.T. Richards, A.D. Rogers, J. Sanciangco, A. Sheppard, C. Sheppard, J. Smith, S. Stuart, E. Turak, J.E.N. Veron, C. Wallace, E. Weil, and E. Wood. 2008. One-third of reef building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science 321: 560-563.

Cervino, J. M., R. L. Hayes, M. Honovitch, T. J. Goreau, S. Jones, and P. J. Rubec. 2003. Changes in zooxanthellae density, morphology, and mitotic index in hermatypic corals and anemones exposed to cyanide. Marine Pollution Bulletin 46: 573-586.

Johannes, R.E., and M. Riepen. 1995. Environment, Economic, and Social Implications of the Live Fish Trade in Asia and the Western Pacific. Report to the Nature Conservancy and Forum Fisheries Agency. 83 pp.

DeVantier, L., A. Alcala, and C. Wilkinson. 2004. The Sulu-Sulawesi Sea: environmental and socioeconomic status, future prognosis, and ameliorative policy options. Ambio 33(1-2): 88-97.

Pratt, V.R. 1996. The growing threat of cyanide fishing to the Asia Pacific Region, and the emerging strategies to combat it. Coastal Management Tropical Asia 5: 9-11.

Rubec, P.J., 1986. The effects of sodium cyanide on coral reefs and marine fish in the Philippines. Pp. 297-302, In: J.L. Maclean, L.B. Dizon, and L.V. Hosillos (eds.), The First Asian Fisheries Forum, Asian Fisheries Society, Manila, Philippines.

Rubec, P.J. 1988. The need for conservation and management of Philippine coral reefs. Environmental Biology of Fishes 23(1-2): 141-154.

Rubec, P.J. 1997. Testimony to U.S. Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife & Oceans concerning House Resolution 87, Washington, D.C. http://www.house.gov/resource/105cong/f ... .rubec.htm

Rubec, P.J., V.R. Pratt, and F. Cruz. 2001. Territorial use rights in fisheries to manage areas for farming coral reef fish and invertebrates for the aquarium trade. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht The Netherlands, Aquarium Sciences and Conservation 3:119-134.

Rubec, P. J., and J. Palacol. 2002. Farming Coral Reef Invertebrates for Reef Rehabilitation and the Aquarium Trade. Pp. 107-113, In: J. Breman (ed.), Marine Geography, Environmental Systems Research Institute, ESRI Press, Redlands, California, U.S.A.

Rubec, P.J., V.R. Pratt, B. McCullough, B. Manipula, J. Alban, T. Espero, and E.R. Suplido. 2003. Trends determined by cyanide testing on marine aquarium fish in the Philippines. Pages 327-340, In: J.C. Cato and C.L. Brown (eds.), Marine Ornamental Species: Collection, Culture & Cultivation, Iowa State Press, Ames, Iowa.

Rubec, P.J., M. Frant, and B. Manipula. 2008. Methods for detection of cyanide and its metabolites in marine fish. Pages 43-63, In: A.W. Bruckner and G.G. Roberts (eds.) Proceedings of the International Cyanide Detection Testing Workshop, held 6-8 February 2008 in Orlando, Florida, U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS-OPR-40, August 2008.

Rubec, P.J., F.P. Cruz, T.V. Jamir, and A. Ruwindrijarto. 2009. Use of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems To Support Spatial Management and Conservation of Marine Resources In Tropical Countries. Paper presented at International Ocean, Science and Policy Symposium held in Manado, Indonesia, May 12-14, 2009, 10 pp.

Veron, J.E.N., and M. Stafford-Smith. 2000. Corals of the World. Vols 1-3, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Queensland, and CRR Qld Pty Ltd., Townsville, Australia.

Vincent, A.C.J. 2006. Live food and non-food fisheries on coral reefs, and their potential
management. In Cote, Isabelle M. and John D. Reynolds, editors. Conservation Biology 13:
Coral Reef Conservation. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 183-236.
 

PeterIMA

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Senior Marine Scientist | Conservation Science Program | World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street NW | Washington, DC 20037 USA | helen.fox@wwfus.org | www.worldwildlife.org/science +1.202.495.4793 (w) | +1.202.640.3070 (bb) | +1.202.293.9211 (fax)
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global conservation organization, seeks a Senior Program Officer (SPO) to conduct appropriate outreach to industry leaders associated with the collection, export, import, wholesale, or retail sale of coral and coral reef wildlife, and products made from coral and coral reef wildlife. This outreach will implement the strategies of a four-organization coalition seeking to ensure the long-term health and resilience of the world’s coral reef ecosystems through reform of U.S. trade policies and practices.

The SPO will report to the WWF-US Director of Business and Industry, and work closely with WWF-US’s Senior Program Officer for Marine and Fisheries Policy. The SPO will coordinate closely with campaign partners (Environmental Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and Humane Society) to prioritize business targets for outreach, develop appropriate messages, engage targeted businesses, and generate support in the business community for reform.

An advanced degree or equivalent experience in law, policy or business is required. 3-5 years experience engaging businesses in conservation issues and working closely with conservation NGOs is also required. Knowledge of or willingness to learn emerging issues at the interface of conservation, business and social science, especially as they relate to global wildlife trade (e.g., consumer preference, supply/demand relationships, market incentives, and mariculture technology) is necessary. Must have excellent relationship building abilities, a professional style, and the ability to engage senior level leaders and influentials. Must also have strong written and verbal communications skills, excellent organizational skills, and the ability to work well with a broad team. Must be a creative thinker and problem-solver, have negotiation and facilitation skills, and be able to travel nationally and internationally.

AA/EOE Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. To submit cover letter and resume please visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/careers/jobs.html, job # 11065
 

dain45yl

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I think when you talk about listing a species you have to talk about more broadly what is the goal of such listing and if that goal can be met.
 

PeterIMA

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Thursday, February 3, 2011
Group sues feds to protect coralsBY TIMOTHY O'HARA Citizen Staff
tohara@keysnews.com
A national conservation group plans to sue federal fishery managers for not following through on a plan to protect 82 different species of coral, some of which are found off the Florida Keys.



The Center for Biological Diversity last week filed a notice of its intent to sue the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service in 60 days for its failure to protect the imperiled coral species under the Endangered Species Act, according to Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director for the group.



The group in 2009 filed a petition to have NOAA Fisheries Service determine whether 83 coral species needed to be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. NOAA ruled that all but one were in enough jeopardy to warrant being on the Endangered Species List.



Fishery managers had until October 2010 to determine whether to classify them as threatened or endangered. NOAA did "assemble a team" to do so, but failed to complete the task, Sakashita said.



"These corals need protection now," Sakashita said, adding that 2010 was a bad year for coral bleaching. "We never received a response. They have not met the deadline."



The corals include large boulder and mountain star corals found from the Keys and Hawaii to U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific, Sakashita said.



The pending lawsuit is "a good and bad story," said Millard McCleary, Key West-based Reef Relief's program director.



It will hold the government accountable for increasing protection for coral reefs, but the fact that so many need protection is a concern.



"That's a huge number and should be much more than a cause for alarm. It needs to be a call to action," McCleary said. "This needs to be done now or we may be seeing the last era of corals."



Corals face numerous dangers, but climate change and ocean acidification are the overarching threats to their survival, the center says. Their numbers in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary have decreased by roughly 37 percent since 1995. The decline has slowed in recent years, but sanctuary managers have said they have not seen much new growth.



In 2006, elkhorn and staghorn corals, which occur in Florida and the Caribbean, became the first -- and to date, only -- coral species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their "threatened" listing, which came in response to a petition from the center, marked the first time the U.S. government acknowledged climate change as a primary threat to their survival.



As documented in the center's latest petition, many other corals are also at risk. Protection would open the door to greater opportunities for coral reef conservation, as activities ranging from fishing, dumping, dredging and offshore oil development would be subject to stricter regulatory scrutiny, Sakashita said. Additionally, the Endangered Species Act would require federal agencies to ensure that their actions did not harm the corals, which could result in agencies that approve projects with significant greenhouse gas emissions to consider and minimize such impacts on vulnerable corals, she said.



tohara@keysnews.com


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PeterIMA

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Here is the latest on the petition to delare 83 species of corals threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue NOAA. This is the latest development as of September 30, 2011.
Peter Rubec




Local corals in lawsuit Environmental group files suit to protect corals
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: September 28, 2011


The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the U.S. government to protect corals, such as these off St. Croix.

ST. THOMAS - The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit along with a settlement agreement Tuesday to have the federal government take the next step in including 82 species of corals on the endangered species list.

Eight of the 82 corals are found in V.I. waters. Under the agreement, the federal government has until April 15 to determine if each species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.

"The settlement is a victory for corals because it will speed efforts to reduce threats and protect coral habitat," Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center's oceans program, said.

The settlement is the result of an October 2009 petition from the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, which asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to list the 82 corals as threatened or endangered.

The corals, which occur in U.S. waters from Florida and Hawaii to American territories in the Caribbean and Pacific, have all declined by more than 30 percent during a 30-year period, according to the center.

The petition stated that the eight Caribbean corals - Lamarck's sheet coral, boulder star coral, mountainous star coral, star coral, pillar coral, elliptical star coral, rough cactus coral and large ivory coral - face multiple threats that include bleaching; disease; stronger hurricanes; and storms, pollution and sedimentation as a result of coastal development and chronic overfishing. In addition, all corals face a growing threat of extinction because of rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming and the related threat of ocean acidification, the petition stated.

The federal government failed to respond to the petition by the statutory deadline, which prompted the environmental group to file a notice of intent to sue.

Before a lawsuit was filed, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it was launching a full status review to determine whether the 82 corals warrant the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The agency's 90-day report found that all but one species warranted listing, and the Marine Fisheries Service said a full 12-month finding would be issued detailing the protections warranted under the Endangered Species Act.

No 12-month finding was ever submitted.

In January, the nonprofit center again filed a notice informing NOAA of its intent to sue within 60 days unless a decision was made about listing the corals under the Endangered Species Act.

Both parties entered settlement talks immediately after the notice was filed, and because of that, the center held off on suing the government, Sakashita said.

The only reason the lawsuit was filed along with the settlement agreement was to make the settlement enforceable by the courts, Sakashita said Tuesday.

Under the settlement, the government has until April 15 to complete the 12-month findings for the 82 coral species.

Once the 12-month finding is complete, a proposed rule will be entered for each species deemed worthy of federal protection.

"It really ended up being a win-win for both parties," Sakashita said.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, scientists have warned that coral reefs are likely to be the first worldwide ecosystem to collapse because of global warming and predict that all the world's reefs could be destroyed by 2050.

Protection under the Endangered Species Act would lead to more coral reef conservation because fishing, dumping, dredging and offshore oil development would be subject to federal regulation.

Also, the protection would require federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not harm the coral species.

In 2006, elkhorn and staghorn corals became the first, and so far only, coral species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The listing of staghorn and elkhorn corals - both of which are found in the Virgin Islands - also came in response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity. The two species are listed as threatened.

For information about the group, visit http://www.biologicaldiversity.org.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 774-7882 ext. 311 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.The 82 coral species live in U.S. waters - from Florida and Hawaii to U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. The eight endangered corals found in U.S. Virgin Islands waters are:

- Agaricia lamarcki (Lamarck's sheet coral)

- Montastraea annularis (boulder star coral)

- Montastraea faveolata (mountainous star coral)

- Montastraea franksi (star coral)

- Dendrogyra cylindrus (pillar coral)

- Dichocoenia stokesii (elliptical star coral or pineapple coral)

- Mycetophyllia ferox (rough cactus coral)

- Oculina varicosa (large ivory coral, ivory bush coral, ivory tree coral)

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PeterIMA

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2:42 p.m. EDT, March 18, 2012
An environmental group has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the federal government for failing to protect two threatened species of coral found off southeast Florida.

The Center for Biological Diversity, based in San Francisco, filed a legally required notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for not developing recovery plans for elkhorn and staghorn corals. The two species were added to the endangered species list in 2006, having suffered declines of more than 95 percent due to global warming, ocean acidification and other causes.

"These elegant corals are heading toward an ugly end if we don't act soon," Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the center, said in a news release. "We need to start with halting their decline — only then will corals have a chance."

National Marine Fisheries Service Allison Garrett, spokeswoman for the fisheries service, said the agency is working on recovery plans for the two species.

—David Fleshler

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
 
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PeterIMA":2p8zl5zk said:
2:42 p.m. EDT, March 18, 2012
An environmental group has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the federal government for failing to protect two threatened species of coral found off southeast Florida.

The Center for Biological Diversity, based in San Francisco, filed a legally required notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for not developing recovery plans for elkhorn and staghorn corals. The two species were added to the endangered species list in 2006, having suffered declines of more than 95 percent due to global warming, ocean acidification and other causes.

"These elegant corals are heading toward an ugly end if we don't act soon," Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the center, said in a news release. "We need to start with halting their decline — only then will corals have a chance."

National Marine Fisheries Service Allison Garrett, spokeswoman for the fisheries service, said the agency is working on recovery plans for the two species.

—David Fleshler

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

How do you save something that has declined 95% so quickly?
 

PeterIMA

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Chris, There is no doubt that coral reefs are in trouble from a variety of factors (sedimentation, cyanide use, climate change, ocean acidification, pathogens to name a few). But, so is the rest of the planet in trouble. I don't have an anwer as to why two these species of coral are declining or how to implement their recovery. But, coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine. We all need to pay attention.

PeterIMA
 
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PeterIMA":1k83oan4 said:
Chris, There is no doubt that coral reefs are in trouble from a variety of factors (sedimentation, cyanide use, climate change, ocean acidification, pathogens to name a few). But, so is the rest of the planet in trouble. I don't have an anwer as to why two these species of coral are declining or how to implement their recovery. But, coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine. We all need to pay attention.

PeterIMA

I've noticed a dramatic delcine in the 15-20 years that I have been visiting and diving in the Miami/Key Largo area. Something needs to be done and it has to happen on a global scale. I hope my son is able to see what a coral reef looks like when he is old enough.
 

PeterIMA

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NOAA Invites Comment on Coral Status Review Report and Draft Management
Report*
As part of our ongoing process to evaluate 82 species of coral from the
Caribbean and Pacific for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),
NOAA is inviting public review of two reports, a scientific Status Review
Report<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/exec_sum_and_intro_corals_status%20review%20report.pdf>
and
a draft Management
Report<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/exec%20summ_corals_draft%20management%20report.pdf>.
Our review of these 82 species of corals has been the most complex ESA
listing process NOAA Fisheries has ever undertaken. NOAA will use the
additional input to ensure that the best scientific information available
will be considered as we develop our 12-month finding. Please note that
releasing these documents is not a part of the normal rulemaking process –
it is an engagement process that allows us to be transparent and open in
our decision making. Should NOAA Fisheries determine that a listing is
warranted, we will publish a proposed rule in December 2012 for additional
public comment.

*Important Dates*
The public review process began on April 13, 2012, and ends on July 31,
2012. Instructions on how to submit comments and/or information is listed
below.

*What Additional Information is NOAA Interested In?*
We are particularly interested in receiving information on the following:

- Relevant scientific information collected or produced since the
completion of the Status Review Report in 2011, or any relevant scientific
information not included in the Report.
- Relevant management information not included in the draft Management
Report.

*Engagement Opportunities*
As part of this review, NOAA also plans to host two regional public
listening sessions and two scientific workshops focused on corals this
summer. The specific dates, times, and location for the regional listening
sessions and scientific workshops will be announced in May.

*Corals Reports*
Status Review Report – this report examines the biology of, threats to, and
extinction risk of 82 coral species.

- Executive Summary<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/exec_sum_and_intro_corals_status%20review%20report.pdf>
of
Status Review Report of 82 Candidate Coral Species (pdf)
- Full Document<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/full%20doc_corals_status%20review%20report.pdf>
-
Status Review Report of 82 Candidate Coral Species (pdf) Note: This file is
35MB.

Draft Management Report – this report describes existing regulatory
mechanisms and ongoing conservation efforts to manage and conserve the 82
coral species throughout the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific.

- Executive Summary<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/exec%20summ_corals_draft%20management%20report.pdf>
of
Draft Management Review document (pdf)
- Full Document<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/full%20doc_corals_draft%20management%20report.pdf>
-
Draft Management Review document (pdf) Note: This file is 2.3 MB.

*Other Materials*

- Federal Register
Notice<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/corals%20fed_reg_%20041212.pdf>
(pdf)
- Center for Independent Experts reports
- Report #1—Hughes<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/review_of_noaa_status_review_report_hughes.pdf>
- Report #2—McManus<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/review_of_noaa_status_review_report_mcmanus.pdf>
- Report #3—Riegl<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/review_of_noaa_status_review_report_riegl.pdf>
- Review team
response<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/brt_responses_to_cie_comments.pdf>


*How to Submit Comments*

You may submit comments on the Status Review Report and the draft
Management Report and/or additional papers, reports, and information by any
of the following methods. If possible, comments should be grouped according
to the heading of the relevant section of the reports.

- Electronic Submission— submit all electronic information via
electronic mail to: NMFS.82Corals@noaa.gov
- Mail—submit written comments to:

Regulatory Branch Chief
Protected Resources Division
Attn: 82 coal species
National Marine Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office
1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110
Honolulu, HI 96814
- or -
Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources
Attn: 82 coral species
National Marine Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701


- Fax—808-973-2941; Attn: Protected Resources Regulatory Branch Chief,
or 727-824-5309; Attn: Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected
Resources
_______________________________________________
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
 
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