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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 22, 2004.
Deep Sea Coral Protection Act - Requires the Secretary of Commerce to direct the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to research and map deep sea corals and sponges.
Directs the Secretary to appoint an advisory panel.
Prohibits the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in any Coral Management Area (CMA) and Coral Study Area (CSA).
Requires the Secretary to designate: (1) as a CSA any area that is located within the exclusive economic zone which has not been fished using mobile bottom-tending gear for a three-year period, is determined beyond the reasonable depth limits of such gear, or where certain data indicate the actual or potential presence of a deep sea coral and sponge ecosystem; (2) CMAs according to specified coordinates; and (3) all or a part of a CSA as a CMA if there is a deep sea coral and sponge ecosystem in such area, and the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in the area would cause more than minimal and temporary damage to deep sea corals or sponges.
Applies the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act's civil penalty and forfeiture requirements to persons who violate this Act's prohibition against the use of mobile bottom-tending gear.
Urges the President to identify, with foreign entities, areas in international waters that would benefit from additional protection.