Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


European corals hit hard by fishing


Coral reefs older than the Pyramids are being smashed to bits by fishing boats trawling deep water off the UK coast

European countries are constantly pleading with developing nations to protect coral reefs in tropical countries. But it turns out that their own fishing boats are trashing equally important reefs in their own waters.

Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Glasgow has found pieces of coral at least 4,500 years old in the nets of trawlers operating off Ireland and Scotland. "Very few people know about these deep-water reefs, but conservation areas are urgently needed to protect them," he says.

As fish stocks collapse on Europe’s continental shelf, trawlers are heading beyond the edge of the shelf to catch exotic species such as roundnose grenadiers and Portuguese dogfish. The weights used to hold open the nets can be as heavy as a tonne and are turning coral to rubble, he says.

Especially fragile

Hall-Spencer has found pieces of coral up to a metre square in the nets of French trawlers scraping the seabed one kilometre down.

"These deep-water coral systems are especially fragile because, unlike shallow-water reefs, they are not adapted to cope with minor disturbance such as wave action," he says. Oil prospectors too, he adds, are likely to rip the reefs to shreds. "We know very little about the ecology of these reefs, but they appear to be diverse," says Hall-Spencer.

He found several species of coral, and evidence that many sponges, anemones, barnacles, worms, crustaceans and molluscs live and feed on the reef.

Amazing heritage

Areas in greatest need of protection include the Darwin Mounds - a range of sand mounds north-west of Scotland’s Cape Wrath - and the deep waters near the islet of Rockall, several hundred kilometres west of the Isle of Skye.

WWF is calling for the reefs throughout European Union waters to be protected from current industrial fishing practices under the EU’s Habitats Directive.

"This year, the list of marine sites to be protected under the Habitats Directive is supposed to be finalised and the Common Fisheries Policy is up for review. Both provide excellent opportunities to safeguard our amazing underwater heritage," says Stephen Lutter, director of WWF’s North East Atlantic Programme.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B (vol 269, p 507)

Fred Pearce | New Scientist

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Generation of a Stable Biradical

22.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Scientists develop a room temperature maser to amplify weak signals

22.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Jacobs University supports new mapping of Mars, Mercury and the Moon

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>