Protection of Atlantic Corals Up for Debate, Approval

FILE – (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research via AP, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal panel is revisiting a proposal to offer new protections to deep-sea corals in the Atlantic Ocean.

The New England Fishery Management Council has been working on coral protections in the waters off New England for several years. The council approved protections in the Gulf of Maine in June, but held off on voting on protections for an area south of Georges Bank so it could get more information.

The council is meeting to again consider southern protections on Tuesday. If approved, the council could send the complete plan on to the federal Department of Commerce for implementation.

Changes to the way the government manages deep-sea corals will impact commercial fishing off of New England. The proposals have been the subject of much debate among fishermen and environmentalists.

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