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PNS Daily Newscast - November 25, 2020 


Feeding hungry families, on Thanksgiving and beyond; and is that turkey really from a family farm? (Note to Broadcasters: The newscast has been granted a holiday for Thanksgiving, but we'll return first thing Friday.)


2020Talks - November 25, 2020 


CORRECTED 2:30pm MST 11/25 - Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be the second Black woman in US UN Ambassador role, Susan Rice was the first. Biden nominees speak; how can social media spread less misinformation and be less polarizing. *2020Talks will not be released 11/26 & 11/27*

Fragile Coral Hotspots in Gulf Win Federal Protection

Some deep-sea corals can grow hundreds of feet tall, while others live for thousands of years. (noaa.gov)
Some deep-sea corals can grow hundreds of feet tall, while others live for thousands of years. (noaa.gov)
October 21, 2020

HOUSTON -- Ancient coral hotspots in the Gulf of Mexico will be protected from damaging fishing gear, in a plan approved by federal officials.

The use of trawls, traps, anchors and longlines will be prohibited in most of the 21 protected areas. According to Holly Binns, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts' marine life program, the proactive change will preserve ecosystems that provide food, shelter and breeding grounds for ocean life, ranging from sharks and crabs to fish species such as snapper and grouper. Binns said the coral hotspots are fragile, slow growing and also critical to long-term survival of other species. Once they're damaged, however, they can take centuries to recover.

"This plan would identify about two dozen of these sites," she said, "and in most of them prohibit the use of this damaging fishing gear in order to protect these very special coral hotspots."

Federal approval of the plan creates 21 protected areas off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

An extra benefit of the restoration plan is the development of better maps to locate coral reefs and other ecosystems. Tom Frazer, who chairs the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, said that's important, because there's a lot that's unknown about the deepest parts of the ocean.

"These deep-sea coral habits, they're poorly understood, but we do know that they're very long-lived, they do provide ecological benefits," he said, "and we want to make sure that they continue well into the future."

Frazer said coral ecosystems also are natural disease fighters. Some hold properties that are producing treatments for medical conditions, including cancer. The plan, approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce, designates 21 sites totaling 484 square miles as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.

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Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - TX