In a long-awaited move from the Trump administration, the US has proposed critical habitat protections for twelve coral species in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. The rules would protect over 6,000 sq miles (nearly 16,000 sq km) of critical coral habitat.
The rules cite climate change as the most severe threat to all 12 coral species across their range. Impacts of the climate crisis include ocean acidification, which hinders the ability of corals to grow, and ocean warming, which causes corals to expel the algae living in their tissues in a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. Fishing and land-based pollution have also contributed to the species’ decline.