SAFMC votes to allow rock shrimp harvest adjacent to Oculina coral reefs

Commercial rock shrimpers are one step closer to being allowed to fish on the Oculina coral reef bank that’s been protected from their bottom-raking trawler nets since 2014. The SAFMC Friday morning voted 12-1 to reopen 22 square miles of ocean bottom off Florida’s central Atlantic coast, ending a process that began seven years ago. The decision needs more approvals to be final. Dismayed environmentalists said the measure will allow the destruction of Oculina coral, also known as ivory tree coral, a deep water, slow growing live coral that provides essential habitat to many fish and marine organisms, including the targeted shrimp. >click to read< 12:09

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