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|
|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.
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: