A petition to classify 82 stony corals as Endangered Species under U.S. law could spell doom—or a bureaucratic nightmare—for any business or individual aquaculturing corals or live rock for the aquarium trade, industry experts are predicting.
The headline “Are Aquariums Getting Too Lifelike?” is splashed across the top of the front page of today’s Science Times section of The New York Times, with a jumbo image of Joe Yaiullo doing maintenance in the 20,000-gallon reef at Atlantis Marine World. The article, by Henry Fountain, provides a balance of viewpoints, but it has Florida marinelife collectors, and state wildlife regulators, lining up to defend themselves.
A move to place more than 80 species of stony corals on the Endangered Species list appears to be gaining traction with the U.S. federal government. A petition from an Arizona-based environmental group calls for protection of 8 Caribbean and Western Atlantic species, 9 corals in the Hawaiian Islands, and 66 species from the Indo-Pacific.
We (NMFS) announce a 90– day finding on a petition to list 83 species of corals as threatened or endangered under the ESA. We find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted for 82 species; we find that the petition fails to present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for Oculina varicosa. Therefore, we initiate status reviews of 82 species of corals to determine if listing under the ESA is warranted. To ensure these status reviews are comprehensive, we solicit scientific and commercial information regarding these coral species.
Public Aquarist Jay Hemdal covers a diverse range of fish health and husbandry topics in this “odds and ends” report.