The ACRS supports listing the Cauliflower Soft Coral as an Endangered Species

Download: ACRS Submission to the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee

The Cauliflower Soft Coral (Dendronephthya australis) is a soft coral associated with sponge gardens endemic to New South Wales. These soft corals serve as critical habitat for the endangered White’s seahorse, Hippocampus whitei (Harasti et al., 2014). In addition, habitats with D. australis have significantly higher associated biodiversity than nearby sand, seagrass, and sponge habitats lacking D. australis (Poulos et al., 2013). Not only is D. australis ecologically important, but it also has high social value.

Recent population declines of Cauliflower Soft Coral (Dendronephthya australis) from anchor damage, fishing line entanglement, and coastal development are threatening the persistence of the species. Thus, the ACRS strongly supports listing Dendronephthya australis as endangered under the Fisheries Management Act 1994. For further information, we encourage readers to download and read the full submission by the ACRS to the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee linked above.

ACRS thanks member Rosie Steinberg and councillor Catheline Froehlich for writing, John Turnbull for photo credit and input, and the ACRS council for editing.