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This office is charged with protection of coastal and marine ecosystems, including those identified and described as Essential Fish Habitat by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council pursuant to the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The office's area of responsibility is Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. The office also participates in the Coral Reef Conservation Program which is dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the coral reef ecosystem.

Issues affecting coastal and marine habitats in the U.S. Caribbean:

  • Conversion of rural and undeveloped land into residential, industrial, and commercial development
  • Expansion of ports and maintenance dredging of navigation channels
  • Construction and expansion of marinas
  • Channelization of streams and rivers; construction of flood control projects
  • Non-point source discharge from urban and agricultural areas
  • Unauthorized (i.e., unpermitted) activities in coastal wetlands and marine areas
Coral Reef Conservation Program Activities
  • Education and Outreach Projects:
    • Creating Spanish language videos
    • Conducting workshops with fishers and local and federal agencies; and,
    • Creating bilingual guides about marine protected areas
  • Restoration Projects
    • Restoration of seagrass and mangroves within the Guanica State Forest and Natural Reserve in Puerto Rico
  • Ecosystem Management Projects
    • Monitoring and characterization of coral reefs integrating current studies to determine important habitats of reef fish in Puerto Rico
    • Installation of hurricane moorings with the Virgin Island National Park (St. John)
    • Development of conservation areas in three natural reserves in Puerto Rico
    • Installation of interpretive signage in Mangrove Lagoon, St. Thomas
Other Activities
  • Support to NOAA's Restoration Center
  • Caribbean Fishery Management Council Habitat Advisory Panel
  • Support to Caribbean Regional Response Teams
  • Support to local agency and organization outreach activities

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Last Updated: March 18, 2013

NOAA Fisheries Service, SE Region Office Building