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http://www.coralreef.noaa.gov/

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems.

of special note...

NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Protections for Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals.

NOAA Releases First Deep Coral Ecosystems Status Report.

Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization: Latest Progress.

External Review Report Now Available.

Abstracts Deadline Extended: 11th ICRS.

NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Protections for Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals. NOAA is proposing to extend most of the prohibitions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the threatened elkhorn and staghorn corals. Both species were listed as threatened in May 2006. Species listed as endangered under the ESA are automatically covered by a suite of protective measures and prohibitions in the law; however, these same measures and prohibitions do not automatically apply for threatened species. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service developed a separate proposed rule, called a 4(d) rule after section 4(d) of the ESA, detailing the prohibitions necessary to provide for the conservation of elkhorn and staghorn corals. The proposed rule would prohibit the take, trade and all commercial activities involving elkhorn and staghorn corals. Allowable activities are limited to qualified scientific research and enhancement and restoration activities carried out by an authorized agency. The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed rule; the comment period ends on March 13, 2008. You can access the Federal Register notice for the full proposed rule, supporting documents, instructions for submitting comments, and Frequently Asked Questions on the NOAA Southeast Regional Office Web site. More information can also be found in the NOAA press release.
 

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Go to this link:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071218_coralprotection.html

For the press release.

I urge each of you to write in and suggest that HOBBYISTS be given some opportunity to participate in the conservation efforts of these corals before they are placed on the endagered species list. Once on that list, they will likely NEVER be removed from it. As "endagered" species - we can NEVER own them without significant permits and paperwork, which most of us will never have/get.

Not even aquacultured specimens will be legal - any/all ownership of these corals will be under full governmental authority.

While they are difficult to get now - it's NOT a crime to own a speciment that was aquacultured or that you came upon unknowlingly (as a hitchhiker, etc.). That WILL change if their status is elevated.

NOW - I'm not advocating against further protection, but I'm 100% behind giving us hobbyists a chance to participate in the conservation effort in some capacity without having to line up for permits that we'll never qualify for. I'd LOVE to see these corals become common place in our hobby - and we can easily do that with the volume of hobbyists and skills that we now have, these corals can become ubiquitous in the hobby within 3-5 years - BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE MADE AVAILABLE TO US.

Whether it's an exam, a processing fee, etc. there's plenty of coral fragements still available that we could start growing from.

Send your comments:

The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed rule, which is available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov, by contacting NOAA's Jennifer Moore at [email protected], or by fax request sent to 727-824-5309.

Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods and should reference (RIN) 0648-AU92 in the subject line:

E-mail via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov
Fax to 727-824-5309, Attention: Jennifer Moore
Mail to Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
Let Ms. Moore know you want to be part of the conservation effort and would be glad to do whatever it takes to make sure these animals are not forbidden from being developed and worked on in our hobby. There's got to be some way WE as hobbyists can help this process.

I don't have the answers myself, but I know if they are listed as endangered we'll NEVER have the chance to try.
 

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Great Scooby! Like you say, there must be a way for us to be effective and helpful in the conservation and study of endangered corals (etc.)
 

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scooby doo said:
Go to this link:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071218_coralprotection.html

For the press release.

I urge each of you to write in and suggest that HOBBYISTS be given some opportunity to participate in the conservation efforts of these corals before they are placed on the endagered species list. Once on that list, they will likely NEVER be removed from it. As "endagered" species - we can NEVER own them without significant permits and paperwork, which most of us will never have/get.

Not even aquacultured specimens will be legal - any/all ownership of these corals will be under full governmental authority.

While they are difficult to get now - it's NOT a crime to own a speciment that was aquacultured or that you came upon unknowlingly (as a hitchhiker, etc.). That WILL change if their status is elevated.

NOW - I'm not advocating against further protection, but I'm 100% behind giving us hobbyists a chance to participate in the conservation effort in some capacity without having to line up for permits that we'll never qualify for. I'd LOVE to see these corals become common place in our hobby - and we can easily do that with the volume of hobbyists and skills that we now have, these corals can become ubiquitous in the hobby within 3-5 years - BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE MADE AVAILABLE TO US.

Whether it's an exam, a processing fee, etc. there's plenty of coral fragements still available that we could start growing from.

Send your comments:

Let Ms. Moore know you want to be part of the conservation effort and would be glad to do whatever it takes to make sure these animals are not forbidden from being developed and worked on in our hobby. There's got to be some way WE as hobbyists can help this process.

I don't have the answers myself, but I know if they are listed as endangered we'll NEVER have the chance to try.
Giving endangered species of coral (or any organism for that matter) to a hobbyist is a bad idea for many reasons. Besides the fact that Acropora palmata is very difficult to grow in captivity and there has been very little success with it Acropora cervicornis looks like many Pacific species of brown staghorn Acropora. There would be no way to ensure that these corals in a hobbyists tank have not encountered foreign pathogens and therefore their release into the wild would not be practical.

Listing a species as endangered and not allowing anyone without scientific permits to possess it is the best way to prevent wild colonies from being exploited. If it was easy to get a permit to keep these corals how would the government be able to know if the coral in question was captive raised or where it came from? By allowing people to possess an endangered species, even if it was grown in captivity, it would be very easy for people to pass wild colonies off as ones of captive origin. This would in no way ensure the survival of an endangered species.

Why do you think a hobbyist should be able to possess these corals? Obviously they are not doing well in the wild or they would not be considered for endangered status. The only thing a hobbyist could do would be to propagate fragments of their coral, this has no real effect on helping a species survive. Asexually produced fragments will not help any species survive long term. Without genetic diversity a species is doomed no matter how many frags Joe Sixpack has in his frag tank. Sexually produced offspring would be the only viable choice for captive propagation to work.

Making these species of coral available to hobbyists would create many new problems and solve nothing besides giving some people the chance to keep Atlantic Acropora species and the novelty of saying they own an endangered species. I really hope these corals are not made available to the hobbyist as it will not help either species and could potentially do a great deal of harm to them.
 

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Sanfernando, you said it all. Hobbyists should not be allowed to obtain threatened or endangered species. As to all of the hobbyists who think that they should, honestly, don't you think that a real scientist with a degree in marine biology, mariculture, marine systems, etc., hasn't already used techniques far more advanced than anything you could come up with?
 
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