Habitat investigations within the SEA7 and SEA4 areas of the UK continental shelf (Hatton Bank, Rosemary Bank, Wyville Thomson Ridge and Faroe–Shetland Channel)

Stewart, H.A.; Davies, J.S.. 2007 Habitat investigations within the SEA7 and SEA4 areas of the UK continental shelf (Hatton Bank, Rosemary Bank, Wyville Thomson Ridge and Faroe–Shetland Channel). British Geological Survey, 85pp. (CR/07/051N) (Unpublished)

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The aims of the M/V Franklin 0306 Cruise were to acquire high resolution multibeam, sidescan sonar and camera data over four areas of interest: Hatton Bank, Rosemary Bank, Wyville Thomson Ridge and the eastern flank of the Faroe–Shetland Channel. These four sites were chosen based on the remit of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) area 7 (Figure 1) and the requirements of the Joint Nature and Conservation Committee (JNCC) for the assessment of potential Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats and Birds Directive (Annex 1). The work programme was highly successful with multibeam data and photographic “ground truthing” acquired at all the primary sites. The data revealed the presence of highly diverse biogenic reef present on numerous pinnacles on Hatton Bank, examples of which have never previously been recorded west of Rockall Bank (Roberts et al., 2005). Extensive rocky reef was imaged on the Wyville Thomson Ridge, comprising areas of bedrock outcrop and coarse gravel with associated fauna proven during camera operations. Areas of rippled sea bed were observed on Rosemary Bank and Hatton Bank and iceberg ploughmarks were identified on Rosemary Bank and Wyville Thomson Ridge. Survey in the Faroe–Shetland Channel targeted known down-slope sediment transport channels previously identified through studies funded by the Western Frontiers Association (Bulat and Long, 2001). Preliminary observations and interpretation of the data acquired during the course of this survey suggest that there are several sites which comply with EC Habitats and Birds Directive (Annex 1) as sites of conservation and steps should be taken to ensure their protection. Specifically, the areas of biogenic reef discovered on Hatton Bank and rocky reef on Wyville Thomson Ridge are primary sites for conservation. This is important especially with reference to the Wyville Thomson Ridge where several instances of anthropogenic debris were observed. Accurate mapping and recording of the area to the north and west of Scotland is important in balancing environmental protection and sustainable development with activities such as oil and gas exploration and exploitation, fishing, trawling and alternative energy programmes.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Marine, Coastal and Hydrocarbons
Funders/Sponsors: Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Report made open by author June 2014. This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Additional Keywords: multibeam backscatter, multibeam bathymetry, Hatton Bank, Lyonesse, Rosemary Bank, Wyville Thomson Ridge, Faroe– Shetland Channel, cold water coral, SEA4, SEA7, seamount, conservation.
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Date made live: 09 Jun 2014 14:54 +0 (UTC)

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