Coral Reef NOAA
May 30, 2016  


International Cooperation

This global map shows where some of the most significant species of deep-sea corals (gorgonians and stony coral species) are  located.
This map shows where some of the most significant species of deep-sea corals are located. Click image to download a PDF version. Credit: NOAA Fisheries (map); Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), accessed February 9, 2011 (data)

Because deep-sea coral and sponge communities occur both within and beyond national jurisdictions, effective and comprehensive research, conservation, and management measures will benefit from complementary national, regional, and global initiatives. Similar to domestic management issues, human activities in areas beyond national jurisdiction may also impact deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems. Potential threats could include deep-sea bottom fishing, mining of cobalt-rich crusts on seamounts, deployment of submarine cables, and vessel discharges and anchoring. For non-fishery-based impacts, NOAA, where appropriate and in coordination and cooperation with other relevant government entities, will support US multilateral efforts to address the impacts of these activities. For high-seas bottom fisheries activities that have an impact on deep-sea corals and sponges, NOAA, in cooperation and consultation with the Department of State, Department of the Interior, and other relevant government agencies, will continue to participate in international fora to ensure the long-term sustainability of coral and sponge resources. NOAA has advanced, and will continue to advance, the US' position on conserving and managing deep-sea ecosystems in these multilateral and bilateral arrangements.

International Objectives

  1. Promote international partnerships to conserve deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems through the sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries activities impacting those resources.
  2. Ensure that international trade of deep-sea coral and sponge species, and their parts and products, is sustainable.
  3. Increase international exploration and research of deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems.