The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is pleased to announce the publication of the 2016 Report to Congress<http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/pdf/NOAA_DSC_Report_2016.pdf> on the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program<http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/protection/corals/deepseacorals.html>. The Report highlights exciting scientific research conducted over the past two-year period and historic conservation measures that have been proposed and enacted based on our Program’s results. In partnership with a broad range of partners, our research during this period has spanned the globe, from the remote Johnston Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to previously unknown coral gardens teeming with redfish in the Atlantic only 25 miles off the coast of Maine. The Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program’s website also provides fieldwork reports and a searchable map in the nation’s most comprehensive online database of deep-sea corals and sponges<https://deepseacoraldata.noaa.gov>. Armed with such information, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is the most recent council to propose measures to protect deep-sea coral habitat from impacts of fishing. The Gulf of Maine also earns a spotlight because its deep-sea coral gardens are a major discovery – in addition to reading the report, take a virtual dive<http://bcove.me/5o9zrenb> into this offshore habitat!
Thomas Hourigan, Ph.D.
Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program
NOAA Fisheries Service
Office of Habitat Conservation