In 2009, NOAA launched the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program, called for in Section 408 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as reauthorized in 2007. Specifically, the statute calls for the program to:
In 2010, NOAA released the 2nd biennial Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program 2008-2009. The report summarizes activities initiated with fiscal year 2009 Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program funding. It also presents a brief synopsis of additional conservation actions that have taken place since the first Report to Congress was submitted in 2008.
The Program conducts three-year field efforts to research, map, and characterize deep-sea coral habitats in selected regions. Field activities are being conducted or planned in the Southeastern US (2009-11); West Coast (2010-12), Alaska (2012-14), and Northeast US (2013-15).
Besides these field activities, the Program is working at a national level to integrate existing research on—and known locations of—deep-sea corals; conducting workshops to further identify management-driven deep-sea coral exploration and research needs and to identify the minimum requirements to address deep-sea coral data and information management needs; analyzing the distribution and intensity of fishing practices that may impact these corals; and improving the reporting and analysis of bycatch of deep-sea corals caught in commercial fishing activities.
NOAA continues to work toward increasing our understanding and conservation of deep-sea coral ecosystems. As we are able to gather more information about these complex and diverse systems, we will better be able to inform management and conservation actions.
More information:Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program Factsheet
Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization: Deep-Sea Corals