Florida’s Oculina Bank Is Too Fragile to Reopen to Trawling

Pew recommends NOAA reject fishery management council proposal

Florida's Oculina Bank Is Too Fragile to Reopen to Trawling

On June 27, 2022, The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted comments to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southeast Regional Office opposing the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s proposal to reopen a 22-mile section of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern to bottom trawling for rock shrimp.

The area is home to reefs of dense thickets of Oculina varicose, a slow-growing ivory tree coral found nowhere else in the world. Pew’s letter highlights that opening the area to trawling would put this fragile ecosystem at risk and outlines the ways that the council’s proposal runs counter to the best available science.

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