Coral reefs in Norway
Lophelia pertusa

Latest news

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.