"Coral in an area in the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Connecticut to Virginia has been protected from deep-sea commercial fishing gear, by a new rule issued this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The protected area covers some 38,000 square miles of federal waters, NOAA says, which is about the size of Virginia. It's the "largest area in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico protected from a range of destructive fishing gear," according to the NRDC, an environmental advocacy group.
The new regulations prohibit the use of bottom-tending fishing gear at depths below 1,470 feet. Boats are allowed to cross the protected area as long as they bring the banned heavy gear on board while they do so, according to the text of the rule. It is set to go into effect on Jan. 13."