NOAA Action Plan on Coral Interventions

Orbicella faveolata grown in a lab, spawning on the reef.
Orbicella faveolata grown in a lab, spawning on the reef.
Photo credit: Hanna Koch/Mote Marine Laboratory

NOAA recognizes the deterioration of coral reef ecosystems globally and is committed to intervening in US reefs where it has the authority to act and support, and to promoting the restoration and intervention of reefs worldwide. Given the accelerating pace of threats to reef ecosystems, it is clear that effective and timely interventions will need to be judiciously applied.

In response to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study on coral interventions, NOAA developed an action plan. The NOAA Action Plan on Coral Interventions will guide how NOAA approaches coral interventions in the next one to three years. The plan encompasses four actions for NOAA: (1) research and test priority interventions, (2) develop local or regional structured decision support, (3) review policy implications of coral interventions, and (4) invest in infrastructure, research, and coordination.

We still have the capacity to save coral reefs from their current trajectories but this requires accelerated rates of research and innovation, as well as increased and sustained investment. Coordinated bodies of scientists, governmental officials, and other stakeholders will be critical in identifying which blend of conventional management and interventions will maximize their local reefs' ability to persist considering budget, local buy-in, and policy.

Citation: Vardi, T., T. L. Rankin, T. Oliver, A. Moulding, F. Parrish, T. Moore, I. Enochs, T. S. Viehman, and J.L. Koss. 2020. NOAA Action Plan on Coral Interventions. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-208, 13 p.

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