The National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing to list 66 coral species in the Pacific and Caribbean oceans as endangered or threatened.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco said in a statement today the proposal is an important sensible step toward preserving the benefits provided by the species.
She says corals provide habitat that support fisheries, generate jobs through recreation and tourism, and protect coastlines.
The agency wants to list 59 species in the Pacific and seven in the Caribbean. It’s scheduled public meetings in 20 places including Hawaii, Guam, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The agency is acting to comply with a federal court order after it was sued by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2009.