Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Oceans
Hawaii, Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) with surface reflections. Robinson Ed / Perspectives / Getty Images

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.


These shallow-water corals—which are typically green, pink or cream-colored—have declined significantly, including a 36 percent drop in coverage across Hawaii from 1999 to 2012.

"Cauliflower corals are in crisis, so this is great news. We need to take care of our coral reefs to maintain a healthy biodiversity in our oceans," said Maxx Phillips, Hawaii director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Federal action is urgently need to protect cauliflower coral, called Ko`a in Hawaiian, and our coral ecosystems that are dying out from ocean warming and climate change."

In announcing a 90-day review for cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina), the Fisheries Service said scientific evidence shows the species is likely to be listed as threatened or endangered throughout its range. It will accept public comment on the finding and conduct a full status review of the species and its threats. A listing proposal could come early next year.

Protecting corals ultimately requires reducing global temperature increases by drastically cutting fossil fuel emissions. The cauliflower coral is also threatened locally by land-based pollution, sedimentation and physical disturbance caused by human activities.

Cauliflower corals have been particularly vulnerable to bleaching episodes on reefs worldwide. Between 2014 and 2017, a massive coral-bleaching event swept across the planet, killing millions of corals on hundreds of reefs from Hawaii to the Great Barrier Reefs. Scientists say it was likely the most widespread, harmful and longest mass coral bleaching ever.

Endangered Species Act protection for the cauliflower coral will minimize key threats, including land-based pollution and runoff from islands in Hawaii. The Act has a 99 percent success rate in preventing extinction for species under its care.

An earlier coral petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2006, resulted in the protection of elkhorn and staghorn corals, which became the first species ever to be protected under the Act because of the threat of global warming.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A pangolin at a rescue center in Cambodia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Malavika Vyawahare

China has banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 2,700 lives and infected more than 81,000 people, most of them in China, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Read More
A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

Read More
Sponsored
White gold man-made diamond solitaire engagement ring. Clean Origin

While keeping track of the new trends in the diamond industry can be hard, it is still an essential task of any savvy consumer or industry observer. Whether you are looking to catch a deal on your next diamond purchase or researching the pros and cons of an investment within the diamond industry, keeping up with the trends is imperative.

Read More
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (C) chants with housing and environmental advocates before a news conference to introduce legislation to transform public housing as part of her Green New Deal outside the U.S. Capitol Nov. 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to chide Republicans for not reading the Green New Deal, which she introduced over one year ago, as The Hill reported. She then read the entire 14-page document into the congressional record.

Read More
Anti Ivan Duque's demonstrator is seen holding a placard with the photos of social leader Alirio Sánchez Sánchez and the indigenous Hector Janer Latín, both killed in Cauca, Colombia during a protest against Ivan Duque visit in London which included a meeting about fracking, environmental issues, the peace process implementation, and questioning the risk that social leaders in Colombia face. Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Colombia was the most dangerous nation in 2019 to be an environmental activist and experts suspect that conditions will only get worse.

Read More