Coral Reefs News

U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Advances Coral Conservation Efforts at 48th Meeting

Photo Credit: Ocean Image Bank // Renata Romeo

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) convened its 48th meeting in April at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) office in Silver Spring, Maryland. The USCRTF comprises leaders from federal agencies, U.S. states, territories, commonwealths, and Freely Associated States. During the week, working groups focused on coral disease, climate change, enforcement, fisheries sustainability, restoration, watersheds, and communications met to advance their ongoing initiatives.

A notable highlight was the workshop on standardising post-coral bleaching monitoring, facilitated by Derek Manzello of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch. This workshop brought together USCRTF and International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) members to present and discuss ways to standardise monitoring metrics, address capacity limitations, and identify critical bleaching tipping points to prompt action. The outcomes of the workshop are currently being compiled into a standard operating procedure, aimed at increasing the usability of data collected by reef managers and simplifying their processes.

The public business meeting opened with remarks from Dr. Richard Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator and the USCRTF co-chairs, Nicole LeBoeuf, NOAA National Ocean Service Assistant Administrator and Carmen G. Cantor, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs. Expert presentations given during the meeting included the current state of bleaching, invasive species outbreaks, ongoing restoration efforts, and other innovative coral reef conservation management practices.

The meeting concluded with a statement on behalf of the entire Task Force, detailing the urgency of the fourth global bleaching event. This statement emphasised the ongoing efforts the Task Force is taking to implement policy and management actions, and support ongoing research, technological innovation, and public education efforts.

Many of these crucial conversations on bleaching, effective post-bleaching responses and interventions, and resilience-based management will continue at the 38th ICRI General Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The USCRTF looks forward to collaborating with ICRI’s 101 members to expand learning and sharing knowledge among domestic and international coral reef partners. Stay tuned for further updates.

Learn more about the US Coral Reef Task Force

Source: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Programme

ICRI Member United States of America

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