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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 02:28 AM

Pacific territories and Fisheries Council oppose new coral designations

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council), as well as governors and fishery officials at the US Pacific territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) have all voiced their opposition on the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed fishery rule to designate critical habitat for seven threatened corals in U.S. waters in the Indo-Pacific.

The seven Indo- Pacific corals listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are within U.S. waters in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island Area (PRIA), according to the NMFS notice issued late last year.

“The Council believes that the proposed critical habitat designations in U.S. waters published by NMFS are overly broad, and not based upon the best available scientific or economic information,” wrote Council executive director Kitty M. Simonds in her May 24th comment letter to Michael D. Tosatto, administrator of the NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office in Honolulu.

“Furthermore, the Council concludes that existing federal and local mechanisms also provide adequate protections for corals and their habitat, and designation of critical habitat is not likely to provide additional conservation benefits,” she wrote.

Read more: https://www.samoanews.com/local-news/pacific-territories-and-fisheries-council-oppose-new-coral-designations

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