Scientists File Petition to Protect Coral Species

The Center for Biological Diversity files a petition to protect 43 coral species the Endangered Species Act.

Paragorgia coral, galatheid crabs, Pratt Seamount, Alaska, coral, arctic

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by Megan Mazurek

The Center for Biological Diversity files a petition to protect 43 coral species the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists behind the petition say damage to the coral is caused by deep sea trawling particularly in the Aleutians and Gulf of Alaska.
The center says each year at least 90 tons of coral are brought to the surface as by-catch, it can also be snagged by long lines and pot fishing gear.
If protection by NOAA is warranted more research would be given to coral and the areas where it grows, including the Bering Sea.
Scientists say they're still studying the benefits having coral in our oceans.
"That's what scientists are still trying to figure out," said Kiersten Lippman, a scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity. "There's a very high association between fish species commercial fish species and the Alaska corals 85 percent of the commercial fish species are associated with the coral in Alaska and that's a very high percentage."
NOAA has 90 days to respond to the petition.

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