The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a final rule to safeguard Gulf of Mexico deep-sea coral "hot spots" from harmful fishing gear. This comes after multiple rounds of public input and revision of draft plans. Importantly, citizen signatures at two different stages of the process helped push this final rule across the finish line. Safeguarding coral ecosystems is important because they are fragile, slow-growing and critical to the long-term survival of a wide variety of other species. Coral ecosystems are also natural disease fighters, some used in treatments for medical conditions such as cancer.

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