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.
It is now forbidden to use bottom trawls in the area delineated
by the following coordinates:
67° 36.2’ N, 009° 32.9’ E
67° 33.8’ N, 009° 40.2’ E
67° 17.3’ N, 008° 57.1’ E
67° 19.8’ N, 008° 49.5’ E
The area is about 43 km long and 6.8 km wide.
Large Lophelia pertusa reef discovered
off Røst in Lofoten [01.06.2002]
The institute of Marine Research (IMR) has discovered a large Lophelia
pertusa reef off Røst in Lofoten. The reef is 35 km
long, 3 km wide and lies mainly between 300 and 400 m depth at a
steep and rugged zone of the continental break.
The protected reef on the Sula ridge was until now the largest
known Lophelia structure. The reef at Røst is about
100 quadrat km, i.e. 10 times larger than the Sula reef. Lophelia
reefs are known to host a rich animal life and because of this,
they are favorite places for fishing with long lines.
Discovered with echosounder
In the search for deep-water reefs, we use echosounder and video
cameras. With special software that identifies the signature of
coral echo, we can map the extention of the reefs very effectively.
Video cameras are then deployed for ground truthing. The details
of this method will be reported elsewhere.
Mapping of continental shelf needed
IMR has shown that Lophelia reefs situated in heavily
trawled areas are threatened, some of which close to extinction.
That is why a thorough mapping of the continental shelf off the
Norwegian coast is urgently needed.
The discovery of this huge reef anno 2002 illustrates how poorely
the depths off the Norwegian coast are known. Therefore IMR has,
together with the Norwegian Geological Survey and the Norwegian
Hydrographic Service, proposed to the government a large-scale mapping
program of the Norwegian continental shelf called MAREANO.
Proper management of natural areas and resources are very dependent
on detailed maps. There is a long tradition for this on land and
this should also be the case for our marine areas.