Final Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for the Threatened Caribbean Corals
We, NOAA Fisheries, designate critical habitat for five threatened Caribbean coral species, Orbicella annularis, O. faveolata, O. franksi, Dendrogyra cylindrus, and Mycetophyllia ferox, pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Twenty-eight mostly overlapping specific occupied areas containing physical features essential to the conservation of these coral species are designated as critical habitat. These areas contain approximately 16,830 square kilometers (km2; 6,500 square miles (mi2)) of marine habitat. We have considered economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of designating these areas as critical habitat, and we exclude one area from the designations due to anticipated impacts on national security.