Our coral reefs are in trouble, and the proposal from the federal government to protect 66 corals under the Endangered Species Act is a wakeup call on the urgency of this crisis.
Under the proposal, 12 coral species would be listed as endangered and 54 as threatened. Seven of the most imperiled in live in Florida and the Caribbean, and many of the others are found in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
The decision is the most sweeping effort ever by the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect imperiled marine animals. It's also an important step toward raising public awareness about the plight of corals and providing them lifesaving protections.
Help make sure this proposal becomes a reality. Please sign today to send a message in support of protections for corals.
I am writing to support the protection of 66 corals under the Endangered Species Act, and the reclassification of elkhorn and staghorn corals as endangered. Advancing these corals to final protections will be an important step toward their conservation and recovery. Listing these corals will also raise awareness that our coral reefs are imperiled by climate change and ocean acidification.
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Coral reefs are under increasing stress from multiple threats. Along with global warming, bleaching events have become more severe and frequent. Nearly all reefs will be exposed to severe thermal stress by the year 2050. In the past few decades, coral cover has declined by more than half in many places, and the Caribbean has experienced even more drastic losses. Meanwhile poor management of fishing and pollution contributes to the local degradation of reefs.
I urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to promptly finalize the listing of 12 coral species as endangered, 54 corals as threatened, and to reclassify elkhorn and staghorn corals as endangered. Time is of the essence to save coral reefs, and the Endangered Species Act can provide needed legal tools to advance their protection. I also support the designation of critical habitat and development of a robust recovery plan for corals.
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