Like all corals, Pectinia lactuca is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (2), meaning that international trade in the species should be carefully monitored. This species also occurs in some Marine Protected Areas (1), including the famous Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, where various coral research and conservation programmes are underway (12). However, enforcement within protected areas is often poor (8), and currently less than half a percent of marine habitats receive official protection (13).
Specific conservation measures recommended for Pectinia lactuca include further research into its populations, ecology, habitats, and its resilience to various threats (1). In particular, population surveys are needed to monitor the effects of collection for the aquarium trade, especially in Indonesia, which is the largest exporter (1). Like many other corals, it would also benefit from the expansion of Marine Protected Areas, reef restoration efforts, collection quotas, and disease and parasite management (1) (8) (11). The IUCN recommends that the conservation status of corals be reassessed in ten years or sooner, in light of the predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification (1).