Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stronger Protections for Elkhorn Coral

NOAA’s Fisheries Service has increased its protection of threatened elkhorn and staghorn corals in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through a new rule to prohibit activities that result in death or harm to either species. The new regulations took effect on Nov. 21, 2008.

The rule prohibits the import, export, take, and all commercial activities involving elkhorn and staghorn corals, including:

* discharging any pollutant or contaminant that harms the species
* damaging the species’ habitat
* collection or any activities that result in the corals’ mortality or injury
* anchoring, grounding a vessel, or dragging any other gear on the species

The Tres Palmas Marine Reserve was established in 2004 to help protect to protect some of Puerto Rico's healthiest elkhorn communities for future generations.