Coral reefs in Norway
Lophelia pertusa

Coral reefs also live in deep and cold waters, not only in the tropics

 Drawing of Lophelia Pertusa from 1768
The existence of deep-water coral reefs in Norwegian waters has been known for centuries both by fishermen and scientists, but it was not until recently that we came to realize how widespread and large the reefs can be.

The “discovery” of large reefs along the Norwegian continental shelf was possible thanks to the technological development in connection to oil exploration allowing submersibles with video camera systems to reach the depths where cold-water corals thrive.

Simultaneously with the spectacular video pictures of coral reefs provided by the Norwegian State Oil Company “Statoil”, fishermen were expressing their concerns on the effects of trawling on the reefs. They claimed that corals had disappeared from trawling grounds and that their catches in these areas had diminished. Their worries also concerned the likely function of the reefs as nursery areas for fish.

As the main advisory body to the Ministry of Fisheries on marine resources and the marine environment, IMR carries out mapping and research of coral reefs in Norwegian waters. This web site provides information on these activities which started in 1997.

Latest news

Cold-Water Corals in focus on World Environment Day 2004 [04.06.04]
A new report on cold-water corals was presented in Barcelona on 4 June by Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director. The report, Cold-Water Coral Reefs: Out of Sight-No Longer Out of Mind, is the most comprehensive ever on the subject.

More than 1400 possible Lophelia-reefs mapped [18.09.03]
The new research vessel “G.O. Sars” is providing new possibilities for an effective mapping of coral reefs in Norwegian waters. This was demonstrated during the recent coral mapping cruise on July 7-23 where two new and advanced multibeam echo sounders were used for the first time.

Europe's fragile cold water corals receive protection in Norway [11.06.03]
WWF welcomes the Norwegian government's announcement to protect a newly discovered cold water coral reef.

The coral reef off Røst protected [12.01.2003]
On 4 January 2003 the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries gave the coral reef off Røst special protection against bottom trawling.

Large Lophelia pertusa reef discovered off Røst in Lofoten [01.06.2002]

 
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