Footage reveals threat to stunning Irish corals

 作者:武嚎     |      日期:2019-04-04 12:16:01
By John Pickrell (Image: AWI/IFREMER) (Image: AWI/IFREMER) Researchers have released the first ever video footage of spectacular cold-water, deep-ocean coral reefs, found off the coast of Ireland, in a bid to convince the Irish government that the ancient reefs need protection. The images from the seabed, 1 kilometre down, provide compelling evidence that deepwater trawling is decimating reefs up to 4500 years old. The evidence could be used to help push through legislation to protect seven coral-rich areas found more than 85 km off the west coast of Ireland, says Jason Hall-Spencer, a marine biologist with the University of Plymouth, UK. Europe’s first deep-water conservation area was created to protect similar reefs off the coast of Scotland in 2004, but no protection for Irish corals is yet in place. Unregulated fleets of deep sea fishing trawlers are now “bulldozing” the habitats, says Hall-Spencer. One video (wmv format, 15MB) shows the diversity of the healthy reefs – which teem with fish such as the orange roughy, curious-looking lobsters and lophelia coral – while a second video (wmv format, 8.5MB) reveals bleached chunks of dead coral entangled in fishing nets (Footage courtesy of a 2003 expedition by the Alfred Wegener Institute and the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea). “This is the first time we have proof on film of nets on the seabed entangled with smashed up [Irish] corals,” says Hall-Spencer, “It is irrefutable evidence that the problem is serious.” Though the deep-sea corals were first discovered in 1869, the full extent of the reefs – some of which are hundreds of metres in length and tens of metres high – were not known before 2003. Hall-Spencer is presenting details of the expedition on Monday at the British Association Festival of Science in Dublin, Ireland. More on these topics: