Coastal Marine Resources
Fisheries Management
Protected Species
Ecosystem Observations
Coral Reef Conservation
Ecosystem Research

Coral Reef Conservation

Program Mission

Coral reefs are some of the oldest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. The livelihoods of millions of people in coastal areas around the world depend on coral reefs. Unfortunately, the health of coral reefs has been declining for over 20 years. To address the complex nature of the threats that face coral reef ecosystems, the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and managing coral reef ecosystems. This partnership includes more than 30 offices from NOAA's National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. CRCP also facilitates and supports many partnerships with scientific, private, government and nongovernmental groups at local, state, federal and international levels. As co-chair of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and as directed by the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, CRCP works with its partners to conduct coral reef mapping, monitoring and assessment, natural and socioeconomic research and modeling, outreach and education, and management and stewardship activities.

Ecosystem Approaches to Management

CRCP is one of the nine NOAA Programs that are part of the EGT. CRCP supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems, a mission that relates directly to Ecosystem Approaches to Management (EAM). Through a national program, two grants programs, and three research institutes, the CRCP collaborates with partners in the South Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific Islands (Polynesian and Micronesian) regions to implement and integrate research, monitoring, management, and education activities at the ecosystem level. This integration of services helps NOAA and partners address the synergistic impact of the threats facing U.S. coral reef ecosystems, including over fishing, land-based sources of pollution, climate change and coral bleaching, disease, recreational overuse and misuse, and lack of public awareness.

Over the last five years, CRCP has worked with all nine EGT Programs in developing cross-NOAA integrated endeavors for long-term planning. For example, the Caribbean coral initiative is a partnership eight EGT Programs and was developed to protect and restore resilient coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean region.

CRCP is an integral part of the collection of EGT Programs. For instance, CRCP-funded mapping and monitoring is utilized by other EGT Programs to make management decisions for coral reef regions. Similarly, CRCP relies upon the science, technical assistance, research vessel capabilities, and funding support of other EGT Programs to assist in making reef management decisions or in carrying out CRCP projects.