In a victory for Florida’s oceans, federal fisheries regulators rejected a proposal to open the last remaining healthly Oculina coral to shrimp trawling.
Oculina Bank gets its name from the white, tree-like Oculina coral that filter feed approximately 200-300 feet under the waves, creating the habitat for shrimp, crab and other small fish that form the basis of Florida’s marine ecosystem. This coral habitat was nearly wiped out when shrimpers began trawling along the bottom, and by 2000, only 10% of the Oculina coral remained. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took action and closed the bank to fishing, but a recent proposal would have allowed this dangerous practice to disturb coral once again.
Environment Florida Research & Policy Center’s sister organization, Environment Florida, along with its national partner Environment America, collected over 14,000 comments in opposition to this rollback.
Learn more about Oculina here: