Activists aim to protect 'stunning' Alaska coral

The Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning the federal government to protect Alaska coral under the Endangered Species Act.

"Human impacts on cold-water corals are devastating, in particular the destructive fisheries practices that can wipe out many square miles of coral habitat in a single day," the center says.

Trawls, longlines and pots can all damage coral, but "the greatest threat" is climate change, the group says.

The nonprofit organization, based in Tucson, Ariz., says Alaska corals "occur in greatest abundance and variety a few miles off the Aleutian Islands, in underwater canyons in the Bering Sea, and on the slopes of submerged volcanoes in the Gulf of Alaska."