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Suing the U.S. government to save the coral reefs.

Frustrated by years of inaction, the Arizona based Center for Biological Diversity have this week filed a lawsuit in the federal district court of Columbia against the U.S. government (Center for Biological Diversity v Raimondo, et al. Case No. 1:2023cv00809) alleging promises have been broken and not enough is being done to protect the world’s coral reefs.

The lawsuit accuses the U.S. government of failing to protect 12 endangered species of coral found in the Caribbean and Pacific oceans that continue to suffer decades of pollution, overfishing and global warming.

The Center points out that they put the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service on notice of this lawsuit more than two years ago warning that if they did not take steps to address their inaction and issue rules prohibiting activities that kill or harm listed coral, banning import of listed coral, and addressing climate change and local threats in a 6,000 square mile area, as previously promised they would be forced to act. Unfortunately, the Federal government did nothing.

“Prohibiting collection and import of threatened corals is the bare minimum that federal officials should be doing to protect these amazing creatures,” said Emily Jeffers, an attorney with the Center. “Ocean warming and trade are existential threats to these corals. If we want to prevent corals from going extinct, we need to give them the strongest protections available.”

Suing the U.S. government to protect the world's coral reefs.

The area covered by the proposed “critical habitat” designation called for by the Center includes the waters off Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the northern Gulf of Mexico. It would also cover several square miles around Guam and American Samoa in the Pacific.

The Center notes that an estimated 50% of coral reefs worldwide have already been lost to climate change, and about one-third of reef-building coral species are at risk of extinction.

As we have pointed out in this blog before, individual change is beneficial but real change can only be achieved through regulation by local, state and national authorities. When those authorities fail to act, they must be held to account.


EPO9 was formed four years ago by a collection of surfers, scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers and outdoor enthusiasts who worship the sun but really care about, and want to protect, the oceans and marine environment which brings us so much joy. Eponine Labs, LLC was incorporated in June 2022. Its mission is to manufacture a sunscreen that is truly non-toxic to the marine eco-system and ​will afford the user the highest standard of skin protection from the sun's harmful UV rays.

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