GovGuam Hits Federal Control of Coral Species
Author: Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Source: Marianas Variety
August 28, 2012
"HAGÅTÑA — A local biologist confirmed 35 of the 82 coral reef species petitioned for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, or ESA, are facing extinction in Guam’s waters, but the local government is opposing possible federal control, saying recovery initiatives must be taken through regional initiatives or international treaties.
David Burdick, a biologist at the Bureau of Statistics and Plans’ Guam Coastal Management Program, said eight more coral reef species are likely threatened besides the ones proposed by the National Marines Fisheries Services for inclusion in the ESA listing.
“The high abundance and widespread distribution of many of these species, should any of them become listed, would likely lead to the designation of large expanses of Guam’s coral reef ecosystem as critical habitat,” BSP Director Thomas Morrison said in a letter to Lance Smith, regulatory branch chief of the Protected Resource Division of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Under the ESA, the federal government has the responsibility to protect species listed as endangered or threatened as well as critical habitats. But Morrison said the negative impacts of listing Guam coral reefs under ESA outweigh its benefits."
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