||Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 23 October 2001
Good news for the Darwin Mounds - WWF welcomes government iniative on unique British corals
WWF, the global conservation organisation, welcomed the UK Government announcement at the Oceans Recovery Summit in Edinburgh today that the Darwin Mounds were a top priority on the list of offshore marine sites that need protection.
Margaret Beckett, UK Secretary of State on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had stated in her address to WWF's Summit: "The Darwin Mounds - an excellent example of cold water reefs - are located at a depth of about 1000 metres in the north east corner of the Rockall Trough, north west of Scotland. We regard them as prime candidates for investigation for Special Area of Conservation (SAC) status. I expect them to be the first site to be confirmed once the regulations are in place."
Dr Sarah Jones, WWF UK Marine Policy Officer, said: "This is great news. Over the last year WWFs Oceans Recovery Campaign (ORCA) has been highlighting to the Government the immediate threat of destruction of the Darwin Mounds, especially since a deep-sea trawler damaged them. They are unique as far as we know and are vitally important for the biological diversity of the area.While it is probable that trawlers registered outside the UK are damaging the mounds the UK Government are responsible for proposing action to the European Commission.
WWF believes that the Darwin Mounds should automatically qualify for Special Area of Conservation status. The Government needs to follow-up their announcement today by drawing up and implementing a management plan for the Mounds before fishing activity damages them further.
WWF map of reefs in British waters (556 KB - download as PDF file)
WWF Factsheet about the Darwin Mounds (2,1 MB - download as PDF file)
Full version of WWF UK Press Release
WWF International Project on Marine Protected Areas in the North-East Atlantic
Photograph: Lophelia pertusa colonies and associated benthic fauna photographed on the Darwin Mounds (Courtesy of DEEPSEAS Group, © Southampton Oceanography Centre).