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The Gulf’s deep-sea corals have been harmed by the BP drilling disaster and other ongoing pollution and damaging fishing practices.
Did you know the Gulf is home to an amazing array of deep-sea corals? Some species of deep-sea corals in the Gulf are thousands of years old. Others build reefs 50 feet tall off the ocean floor. All are extremely slow-growing and can take decades to recover from damage, if they recover at all. Coral ecosystems also contain natural disease fighters, some of which produce treatments for human medical conditions, including cancer.
Unfortunately, some deep-sea coral sites in the Gulf were severely damaged by oil from the 2010 BP drilling disaster, and many of the sites continue to be in harm’s way from pollution and damaging fishing practices.
Scientists have identified 47 areas in the Gulf with significant corals that need protections and with the help of supporters like you we were able to secure new protections for almost half of these sites. In October 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated 21 sites covering 484 square miles as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern from Florida to Texas. Now, damaging fishing gear like trawls, traps, and anchored longlines that break, dislodge, or smother corals, can’t be used in these reef and canyon sites.
And in related news, the federal government tripled the size of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which contains many ecologically important coral sites, in 2021.
These are great steps forward and Healthy Gulf is proud to be part of the effort to protect these sites, but ultimately all 47 significant coral sites need protection to ensure the ecological health of these corals and the Gulf of Mexico. We are continuing to push for the federal government and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to take action to protect all of the significant deep-sea coral sites in the Gulf of Mexico.
You can join our efforts to protect deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico.
What Healthy Gulf Members Are Doing
Healthy Gulf continues to be a leader in the protection of deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico.
Healthy Gulf continues to be a leader in the protection of deep-sea corals in the Gulf. We collected thousands of signatures to convince the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to designate 484 square miles as Habitat Areas of Special Concern.
Sign up to receive updates about Gulf corals, and we’ll let you know when you can speak up to protect even more deep-sea coral in the Gulf.
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This blog was written by Julia Lingelbach, Healthy Gulf’s Gulf Fish Forever intern.Deep sea coral…