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Press_Parrot Fish Protecting the Caribbean Coral Reefs is the Fed's Affair - Kansas City InfoZine

Press_Parrot Fish Protecting the Caribbean Coral Reefs is the Fed's Affair - Kansas City InfoZine

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Press_Parrot fish case in Kansas Cito Info online
Press_Parrot fish case in Kansas Cito Info online

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Published by: CORALations on Oct 16, 2013
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10/16/13 1:24 PMProtecting the Caribbean Coral Reefs Is the Fed's Affair - Kansas City infoZinePage 1 of 6http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/57269/
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Post NewsSign InArts»BusinessCommunity »ConsumerEducationEnvironmentHealth »U.S.PoliticsScience/Tech »SportsTravelVideosWorldProtecting the Caribbean Coral Reefs Is the Fed's AffairTuesday, October 15, 2013 ::Staff infoZine Afederal district court has ruled that the National Marine FisheriesService violated the law by allowing fishing for depleted parrotfish and other algae-eatingreef fish species without properly monitoring the fishery’s impacts on rare corals that depend on healthy fish populations. San Juan, Puerto Rico - The decision came in response to an Endangered Species Act suit filed in January 2012 by Earthjustice on behalf of twoconservation groups (CORALations and the Center for Biological Diversity), and Mary Adele Donnelly. Local counsel for Earthjustice on this casewas Miguel Sarriera, who has represented a number of groups battling for environmental protection throughout Puerto Rico.The court determined the Fisheries Service must do a better job monitoring the effects of commercial fishing on elkhorn and staghorn coral in theU.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. These coral species are protected by the Endangered Species Act and serve as essential habitat for fish and
 
10/16/13 1:24 PMProtecting the Caribbean Coral Reefs Is the Fed's Affair - Kansas City infoZinePage 2 of 6http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/57269/
other marine species. Parrotfish protect these corals by grazing on algae that otherwise would smother the reef; removing the fish allows the algaeto dominate reef systems and deny corals the space needed to grow.Elkhorn (above) and staghorn coral, essential habitat forfish and other marine species, have declined by as muchas 98–99 percent since the 1970s. Photo Courtesy of August RodeIn his decision, Senior Judge Salvador E. Casellas ruled that the Fisheries Service’s monitoring plan was invalid because, as a baseline matter, theagency didn’t even know how many parrotfish were present to begin with and in any event had not committed to monitoring the impacts of thefishery on the parrotfish themselves. Under these circumstances, the court concluded the Service had illegally failed to establish an adequateprocedure for verifying whether its fishing plan was preventing excessive harm to the threatened elkhorn and staghorn corals.Parrotfish eat algae that can otherwise smother coral habitat. U.S. Caribbean reefs already suffer from excessive algae cover, a situation exacerbatedby scooping out the grazing fish necessary to hold back algal growth. This situation leads to what scientists call a “death spiral” in which theremoval of algae-eaters like parrotfish leads to increased algae and decreased coral, which in turn results in fewer fish and other reef creatures.Not so long ago, elkhorn and staghorn corals were the main reef-building coral species in the Caribbean. Yet these species have declined by asmuch as 98–99 percent since the 1970s thanks to stressors including overfishing, disease, and climate change. As the corals decline, so does qualityhabitat for fish and other creatures.Tools:Print Email Link Comments
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