Act Now: Ask the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to protect deep-sea corals.
Not far off the East Coast of the United States, deep-sea corals such as those pictured above provide critical habitat for countless fish and invertebrates. Research suggests that these ancient, fragile creatures provide critical habitat for the diverse species that live with them and form the foundation of ecosystems that may someday yield extraordinary benefits to human health. Cold-water corals are stationary, which makes them particularly vulnerable to pollution and changes in the ocean’s temperature, but their greatest global threat is from bottom fishing.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has proposed a bold plan to use its authority under federal law to proactively “minimize the impacts of fishing gear on deep-sea corals,” but it has not yet determined the extent of that protection. The council’s plan, called the Deep Sea Corals Amendment, could establish the largest habitat protection area in the history of Atlantic fishery management. To fully safeguard corals, this plan must include all of the canyons and deep regions that harbor these ecological treasures.
Urge the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to protect deep-sea corals from destructive fishing practices.