Jennifer Moore Jennifer.Moore at noaa.gov
Thu Dec 9 09:05:22 EST 2004

Jennifer Moore                                                          
Protected Resources Division                                   December 
9, 2004
(727) 570-5312            SERNR04-053                      NR04-053



            NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is 
conducting a status review of three Caribbean acroporids (elkhorn coral, 
staghorn coral, and fused-staghorn coral).  To maximize public 
involvement in the status review and to ensure that NMFS receives the 
best available scientific and commercial data for its listing 
determination, NMFS will hold two public meetings to seek input on the 
following specific issues:

 (1)   Historical and current distribution and abundance of these three 
acroporids throughout the Gulf of Mexico, tropical portions of the 
Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea specifically in the Bahamas 
(particularly southern), Nicaragua, Pedro Banks, northern Cuba, Virgin 
Gorda, Antigua, banks off of Turks and Caicos, Saba Banks, Trinidad and 
Tobago, and eastern Caribbean;

 (2)   historic and current condition;

 (3)   population status and trends;

 (4)   information on any current or planned activities that may 
adversely impact the three corals, especially related to the five 
listing factors identified below;

 (5)   ongoing efforts to protect the three acroporids and their habitat;

 (6)   areas that may qualify as critical habitat; and

 (7)   approaches and criteria that could be used to assess listing 
potential of these acroporids as either threatened or endangered (e.g., 
viability assessments, extinction risk, etc.).

 NOAA Fisheries will accept this input at the meetings and during a 
comment period that will end January 4, 2004.  

         NOAA Fisheries is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce 
and is charged with protecting marine, estuarine, and anadromous species 
listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  NOAA Fisheries conducts 
status reviews when it receives a petition that includes substantial 
information that indicates an ESA listing may be warranted.  According 
to ESA listing criteria, a species may be listed if it is determined to 
be threatened or endangered for any one of the following reasons:

·     Present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
habitat or range;

·     over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;

·     disease or predation;

·     inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;

·     other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

            The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned NOAA 
Fisheries on March 4, 2004 to list elkhorn, staghorn and fused-staghorn 
coral as threatened or endangered throughout their known range, and to 
designate critical habitat under the ESA.  In June 2004, NOAA Fisheries 
found that the petition presented substantial information indicating 
that the petitioned action may be warranted and solicited information 
about the three acroporids.  These public meetings are being held to 
maximize public involvement in the status review and to ensure that NOAA 
Fisheries receives the best available commercial and scientific data for 
its listing determination.

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

·         E-mail: Acropora.Info at noaa.gov.
·         Fax: 727-570-5517, Attention Ms. Jennifer Moore.
·         Mail: Comments on paper, disk, or CD-ROM should be addressed 
to the
            Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources
            NMFS Southeast Regional Office
            9721 Executive Center Drive North, Suite 102
            St. Petersburg, Florida 33702
·         At the following meetings:

            Tuesday, December 14, 2004, Key Colony Beach, FL, 2:00-3:00 pm
            Key Colony Beach City Hall, 600 West Ocean Drive, Key Colony 
Beach (Marathon), FL; 305-289-1212

            Wednesday, December 15, 2004, Dania Beach, FL, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
            Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 400 Gulf Stream Way, Dolfin 
Room, Dania Beach, FL; 954-342-8333

         NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving the 
nation's living marine resources and their habitats through scientific 
research, management, and enforcement.  NOAA Fisheries provides 
effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, 
supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to 
provide safe and healthy seafood to customers and recreational 
opportunities for the American public.

        NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national 
safety through the prediction and research of weather and 
climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our 
nation's coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:
NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA Fisheries: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov
NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov

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