To save Hawaii’s disappearing cauliflower coral, biologists seek federal protections

To save Hawaii's disappearing cauliflower coral, biologists seek federal protections

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Thursday that Hawaii's cauliflower coral may be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Cauliflower coral is under consideration for protection based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to the petition, this coral species has declined over the years due to "mass bleaching events in Hawaii, and it is further locally threatened by land-based pollution, sedimentation, over-fishing, and physical damage due to human activities."

Between 1999 and 2012, cauliflower coral experienced a 36 percent drop in coverage across the state.

"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," said Maxx Phillips, Hawaii director at the center for biological diversity.

Cauliflower coral is found in shallow water and can be green, pink or cream in color.

According to the Fisheries Service, the species may soon be categorized as threatened or endangered.

If protected under the Endangered Species Act, then the coral will be protected from dangers like land-based pollution and runoff.

This act has a 99 percent success rate in saving corals from extinction.

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