Considering that you've needed a permit to legally possess any of the
_Caribbean_ Acroporids mentioned since, um, the mid 80's, which was prior
to anyone having any kind of reproducible success with SPS in captivity... I
think USFW would already know of the existence of those specimens. ;)
This would be a paramount case, no question about it.
The only way I can see (in perhaps a limited view) to maintain these species
is maintaining the wild habitat. Palmata is too massive to rear
successfully in captivity without insane costs... I doubt that genetic
integrity could be maintained in any of the species, since recreating the
volume of water that races across them is just insanity for a closed system
(and mutations that favor lower flow would be a nightmare). And in either
case, good luck sexually spawning it! :)
And where do you draw the lines on an open system Species Survival Plan like
that? Does this mean anyone who gets in the water-in-John Pennekamp State
Park needs an incidental take permit? The skeleton is all over the beach...
What if someone picks up a piece? Are they committing a felony? It would
be both remains of a Federally listed animal _and_ critical habitat! Would
they have to inventory each individual polyp?
And in any case, A. prolifera is generally accepted as a hybrid between the
two isn't it? So what's that all about?
This is nuts! It's gonna be interesting and I have a bad feeling about
this... It seems to me with as little as I know besides this press release
and a modicum of prior knowledge.. The only winners in this case are going
to be Industry and Development Interests lawyers. Don't get me wrong, I'm
all for upgraded protection and these species acting as keystone saviors for
the rest of the reefal critters. But my oh my. Sometimes you gotta pick
your battles better.
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