US May Ban 66 Stony Coral Species.

US Proposes Listing 66 Stony Coral Species as Endangered

In response to a 2009 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list 83 coral species as threatened, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is proposing Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings for 66 stony coral species, 59 from the Pacific and seven from the Caribbean.


In the Pacific seven coral species are listed as endangered:

Indo-Pacific Species – Proposed Endangered
Acropora jacquelineae
Acropora lokani
Acropora rudis
Anacropora spinosa
Euphyllia paradivisa
Millepora foveolata
Pocillopora elegans (E Pacific)

A further 52 species are listed as threatened, including a number of popular reef aquarium corals:

Indo-Pacific Species – Proposed Threatened

Acanthastrea brevis Alveopora fenestrata
Acanthastrea hemprichii Alveopora verrilliana
Acanthastrea ishigakiensis Barabattoia laddi
Acanthastrea regularis Caulastrea echinulata
Acropora aculeus Euphyllia cristata
Acropora acuminata Euphyllia paraancora
Acropora aspera Isopora crateriformis
Acropora dendrum Isopora cuneata
Acropora donei Montipora angulata
Acropora globiceps Montipora australiensis
Acropora horrida Montipora calcarea
Acropora listeria Montipora caliculata
Acropora microclados Montipora dilatata/flabellata/turgescens
Acropora palmerae Montipora lobulata
Acropora paniculata Montipora patula/verrilli
Acropora pharaonis Millepora tuberosa
Acropora polystoma Pachyseris rugosa
Acropora retusa Pavona diffluens
Acropora speciosa Pectinia alcicornis
Acropora striata Physogyra lichtensteini
Acropora tenella Pocillopora danae
Acropora vaughani Pocillopora elegans (Indo-Pacific)
Acropora verweyi Porites horizontalata
Anacropora puertogalerae Porites napopora
Astreopora cucullata Porites nigrescens
Alveopora allingi Seriatopora aculeata



In the Caribbean/Atlantic/Gulf region, five species are listed as endangered and two as threatened, with two species already listed being reclassified from threatened to endangered.


Caribbean/Atlantic/Gulf Species

Proposed Endangered

Proposed Threatened Species

Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) Lamarck’s Sheet Coral (Agaricia lamarcki)
Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) Elliptical Star Coral (Dichocoenia stokesii)
Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)
Boulder star coral (Montastraea annularis)
Mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata)
Star coral (Montastraea franksi)
Rough Cactus Coral (Mycetophyllia ferox)


All of the species proposed for listing are already protected under CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

What does this mean for the hobby?

Being listed as an endangered species prohibits the collection of the species along with the import, export, or any commercial activities dealing in the species. Prohibition is not automatic for species listed as threatened, but can be applied to them as well.

Effectively this will remove all of the species listed under the ESA from the US reef aquarium hobby except for existing captive stock.

It is unclear whether the prohibition would apply to the trade in frags of these species taken from existing captive stock. I would certainly hope not.

Does this ban affect the UK hobby?

The prohibition applies to the USA and its territories not to areas outside of US control so any ban may not directly affect the UK/EU hobby and trade. Indeed, there is the possibility of increased availability of some of these species given the loss of the US as a purchaser.

However, legislation such as this, should it go ahead, may increase the chances of other nations restricting the collection and sale of corals for the reef aquarium hobby.

What happens next?

There will be a 90-day public comment period during which NOAA will hold 18 public meetings on the proposed listing before making a final decision by December 2013.

To find out more about the proposed listing, see the NOAA website.

Further articles in connection with the Centre for Biological Diversity:

Possible ban on collecting clownfishes.

Center for Biological Diversity Seeks Endangered Species Act Protection for the Dwarf Seahorse.

The Beginning of the End for Stony Corals in the Reef Aquarium Hobby.


Tim Hayes

Reef Ramblings




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2 Responses to “US May Ban 66 Stony Coral Species.”

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