"PORTLAND, Maine — Federal fishing regulators on Tuesday approved a compromise they said would expand the amount of coral habitat preserved in the Atlantic Ocean while also protecting fishing interests.
The New England Fishery Management Council voted on coral protections in an area south of Georges Bank, one of the most important commercial fishing areas in the Northeast. The decision came about seven months after the council approved protections in another key New England fishing area, the Gulf of Maine, in June.
Environmentalists, regulators and harvesters of species including squid, scallops and lobster have debated the proposal for years. The new protections mean 100,000 square miles (259,000 square kilometers) of deep-sea coral habitat would be protected from the Canadian border to Florida, pro-conservation Pew Charitable Trusts said."