Victory for Deep-Sea Corals in the Southeast - Oceana USA
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2009-09-18 00:00:00

Victory for Deep-Sea Corals in the Southeast

As I mentioned in today’s Scanner, we are celebrating a major victory today for deep-sea corals. Last night the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep-sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. This is believed to be the largest contiguous distribution of pristine deepwater coral ecosystems in the world, and Oceana and others have been working toward this victory for five years.As Oceana’s Dave Allison, senior campaign director, put it, “This landmark decision is a win for the oceans and those in the southeast who rely on it for their livelihoods.” These protections are the result of collaboration and negotiation among fishing, scientific and environmental representatives that worked tirelessly with the Council to reach an agreement. The Council’s decision will now be sent to NOAA for its stamp of approval and implementation. Oceana anticipates the new regulation will take effect by the end of 2009.”The history of fishing has too frequently been one of blind expansion into deep waters as nearshore areas become exhausted,” said Margot Stiles, marine scientist at Oceana. Deep-sea corals off the southeast coast include hundreds of pinnacles up to 500 feet tall. These corals provide homes for a variety of marine species, including sponges with unusual chemistry currently in testing to develop drugs for the treatment of cancer, heart disease and for other medical needs.Congratulations to everyone who helped achieve this exciting milestone!