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Ocean Conservationist Cheers New Protections for Corals, Sponges

Gold coral off the Southern California coast | Credit: courtesy Oceana

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on November 9 new regulations governing 140,000 square miles of ocean floor, effectively doubling seafloor protections off the coast of California in order to ensure the longevity of areas home to corals, sponges, and rocky reefs that are essential for the marine ecosystem. The regulations are expected to take effect on January 1, 2020.

The new regulations, expected to take effect New Year’s Day, virtually put an end to the practice of “bottom trawling,” a fishing technique that is considered highly destructive to ocean ecosystems, on the West Coast. Oceana, an ocean advocacy organization, claims the regulations will lead to the reopening of areas previously closed for fishing due to the destructive effects of bottom trawling, calling it “a win-win for ocean conservation and fishermen.”

Editor’s Note: The full version of this story was posted on Dec. 2.

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