NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A regional fisheries panel has approved a plan to protect coral reefs from North Carolina to New York from fishing techniques that could cause them harm.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the protections for more than 38,000 square miles of habitat in the Atlantic Ocean during a meeting in Virginia Beach on Wednesday. The plan still must be approved by the U.S. Commerce Secretary after a public comment period.
Within deep sea coral zones, fishermen would not be allowed to use bottom-tending fishing gear such as dredges and traps.
The move was praised by environmental groups such as the National Resources Defense Council and Oceana, who would like to see protections extended up to Canada. Similar protections are already in place from South Carolina to Florida.