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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Environmental group WWF have criticised the government for failing to protect a unique Scottish coral site from being damaged by deep-water fishing.
The organisation said it was still waiting for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) secretary of state to follow up on a promise she had made 18 months ago at a WWF summit.

Margaret Beckett had pledged to designate the Darwin Mounds, situated off the northern Scottish coastline, a special area of conservation.

WWF also called on the European Commission to introduce emergency measures to stop deep-water trawling over the 100km sq area covered by the coral.

Ministers north and south of the border need to take the marine environment more seriously

Helen McLachlan, WWF Scotland  
WWF Scotland marine policy officer Helen McLachlan said: "Up close, the Darwin Mounds are as beautiful and as rich in marine wildlife as the Great Barrier Reef.

"We are extremely frustrated that the government has promised time and time again to protect these amazing reefs but nothing has happened.

"Ministers north and south of the border need to take the marine environment more seriously."

WWF also called for a review of other marine activities in the area, such as oil and gas exploration and cable laying.

Discovered in 1998, the Darwin Mounds sit at a depth of 1,000m, about 185km northwest of Scotland.

They support a wide variety of marine life such as sponges, starfish, sea urchins and deep sea fish such as the blue ling, round-nosed grenadier and orange roughy.



BBC Scotland story
 

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Does anybody know what this reef is? Is it Lophelia pertusa? If so, you may be interested to hear that there is one such reef (the only one in the world) at divable depth in Norway (in the Trondheim Fiord). I dived it last September. The depth is 44 m. Relatively few people have dived it as only the local dive club has permission to dive it and they charge visitors £50 to take them there. You get a diploma to prove you've done it. It was a truly fascinating experience.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Interesting bit of info John, I was under the impression that all Lophelia was beyond divable depths, in fact I hadn't heard of any other cold water coral genera till  I looked hereCold Water Corals.
If I get over to your neck of the woods I'd certainly want to dive the site you mentioned

Chee-az
Steve
 

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Nice link, Steve. There are of course plenty of Lophelia reefs in Nowegian waters and we even have one here on the Swedish west coast (at about 100 m depth) but the small one in the Trondheim Fiord (only a few square metres and about 3 m high is the only one that is divable in the world, as far as is known. It supports a lot of life, including the beautiful Paramuricea placomus and Paragorgia arborea. A unique dive. It's a boat dive, of course. Another interesting feature of the Trondheim Fiord is that you can see lots of Ratfish on night dives from shore as they come up from depth to around 20-30 m soon after it gets dark (the only other place I've seen those – not the same species – is British Columbia). You have to time your visit so that slack occurs during the night, though, as the tidal currents can be fierce.
 
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