Listing of 20 Reef-Building Coral Species Under the ESA

Summary

We, NOAA Fisheries, are publishing this final rule to implement our final determination to list the following 20 species as threatened: five in the Caribbean (Dendrogyra cylindrus, Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, and Mycetophyllia ferox); and 15 in the Indo-Pacific (Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora lokani, Acropora pharaonis, Acropora retusa, Acropora rudis, Acropora speciosa, Acropora tenella, Anacropora spinosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, Montipora australiensis, Pavona diffluens, Porites napopora,and Seriatopora aculeata) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. The two species currently listed as threatened (Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata) in the Caribbean still warrant listing as threatened. We also determined that a total of 43 proposed species do not warrant listing as endangered or threatened species, and three proposed species are not determinable under the ESA. We have reviewed the status of the species and efforts being made to protect the species, and public comments received on the proposed rule, and we have made our determinations based on the best scientific and commercial data available.

Post-Listing Steps

Endangered Species Act prohibitions against “take” are only automatically apply to species listed as endangered (and not those listed as threatened). Therefore, we may identify specific regulations for the conservation of these threatened species under Section 4(d) of the ESA with separate rulemakings in the future.

  • We will consult with federal agencies on actions that they carry out, fund, or authorize that “may affect” listed corals to ensure the action does not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species via Section 7 of the ESA.
  • We will propose and designate critical habitat.
  • We may develop recovery plan(s) to identify the criteria that must be met so that the species no longer need the protection of the ESA.

Below you will find more information on the biology of corals and coral reefs, and the history of this management action from receipt of the petition through publishing of the proposed rule and associated documents. Those documents have been updated to reflect the final rule and are available below. 

Last updated by Office of Protected Resources on 05/29/2019