Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer
December 1, 2012 — Multiple species of coral are in trouble. Earlier this week, NOAA proposed listing 66 species on the Endangered Species Act, in an effort to save a resource that generates approximately $1.1 billion, and thousands of jobs, worldwide.
NOAA has proposed listing 59 species of coral in the Pacific and 7 in the Caribbean as either endangered or threatened on the Endangered Species Act.
According to the organization, this would prevent collecting, importing, exporting and commercial activities involving the species.
Many variations of coral are in decline due to rising ocean temperatures and disease.
“Healthy coral reefs are among the most economically valuable and biologically diverse ecosystems on earth,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., on behalf of NOAA.
“Corals provide habitat to support fisheries that feed millions of people; generate jobs and income to local economies through recreation, tourism, and fisheries; and protect coastlines from storms and erosion ... this is an important, sensible next step toward preserving the benefits provided by these species, both now and into the future.”
NOAA estimates that coral reefs generate $200 million annually in the U.S. alone.
The proposal was based on more than 40,000 public comments and data from 400 scientific reports.
Members of the public can submit comments about the proposal by visiting regulations.gov and entering NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036 into the search bar.