[Coral-List] Flower Garden Banks NMS Condition Report is now available!

Steve Gittings Steve.Gittings at noaa.gov
Wed Nov 12 11:15:23 EST 2008

*/Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report is now 

/*The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of 
National Marine Sanctuaries is pleased to announce the release of the 
Condition Report 2008 for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine 
Sanctuary.  Located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico the sanctuary 
includes three separate areas, known as East Flower Garden Bank, West 
Flower Garden Bank, and Stetson Bank.  The banks support several of the 
most productive and unique habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, including the 
northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States.  This report 
summarizes the conditions and trends for the sanctuary's water, habitat, 
and living resources.

In general, the report rates the health of most Flower Garden Banks 
sanctuary resources as either "good" or "good/fair."  One current 
concern is the recent finding of high levels of several contaminants in 
fish in and around the sanctuary.  This has caused the Food and Drug 
Administration to issue a seafood advisory to seafood processors about 
fish caught around the sanctuary.  Also of concern is the decreased 
abundance of certain fished species, including grouper, jacks, and 
snapper, which are dominant predators in the ecosystem.  The report 
points to the need for continued research on how the removal of 
predatory fish species can affect the rest of the ecosystem.  The 
report's summary findings can be found on pages 5 and 6. 

Sanctuary condition reports are the latest in a new series of 
publications by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to inform 
the public about the condition of each marine sanctuary every five 
years.  Condition reports provide a synthesis of the health of each 
sanctuary and are meant to set the stage for reviewing their respective 
management plans.

The condition report can be downloaded at: 
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/. Please contact 
George.Schmahl at noaa.gov or kathy.broughton at noaa.gov if you have 
questions or require additional information.

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