The American reef aquarium hobby can breathe a little easier today, at least for another 6 months. Having received a deluge of public comments and lots of criticisms from coral researchers and scientists, the National Marine Fisheries Service is extending its evaluation of the proposal to list up to 66 corals as threatened or endangered.
Some of the blowback the NMFS received came from Congressmen Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington and David Vitter of Louisiana who contended that the proposal relied too heavily on Climate Change to list these corals as worthy of protection.
“Proposing to list dozens of coral species covering millions of ocean miles based in perceived future harms with dubious scientific justification simply does not pass the straight face test”
Whether or not Hastings and Vitter are taking a conservative stance on Climate Change, they do have a point that the proposal has an open-ended connotation regarding the Earth’s changing climate. And we certainly agree with the “dubious scientific justification” part as one of the claims of the proposal is that our beloved 20,000 leagues Acropora lokani is a rare species is based on just a single, very dated peer-reviewed scientific publication.
We really, REALLY hope that this extension of the proposal’s review means that the NMFS will take a harder and broader look at what the ruling could mean, and how effective it would really be. We’re not out of the woods yet but in the meantime we can all enjoy the reef aquarium hobby a little bit more for the time being. Here’s to collectively manifesting a more reasonable approach to protecting corals in US waters than what is currently on the table.