Endangered status sought for state’s coral species

JUNEAU EMPIRE

ANCHORAGE – The non-profit Center for Biological Diversity announced Monday that it has filed a petition with the federal government to list 43 of Alaska’s coral species on the Endangered Species Act (goo.gl/RusUk).

The petition was sent to the Secretary of Commerce and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration through the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The non-profit requests the designation of critical habitat “to ensure their survival and recovery,” according to a CBD press release. Climate change and ocean acidification and certain fishing activities are a threat to the 43 species, the release said.

Alaska Exclusive Economic Zone waters are the exclusive home to 40 of the 43 coral species.

Large coral gardens were discovered in the Aleutian Islands in 2002, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (goo.gl/fzZ4G).

“Scientists estimated that as many as 100 species of coral were flourishing 300 to 5,000 feet beneath the surface,” according to the ADF&G website.

For more information visit www.biologicaldiversity.org.

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