Protected Area A - East Mingulay SAC
Thirteen kilometres off the eastern coast of the Outer Hebridean island of Mingulay are several biogenic reefs formed by the colonial cold-water coral Lophelia Pertusa. The oldest coral material dated from these reefs is 4,000 years old and growth is likely to have begun at the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. L. Pertusa was first reported in this area by fishermen in the early twentieth century. The reef complex was researched in 2003, when it was found that the area contained sea mounds with L. Pertusa reef and rocky reefs.
The L. Pertusa reefs have a highly diverse range of associated species including starfish, sea urchins, anemones, sponges, and fish including species like the blackmouth catshark (Galeus melastomus). These sea mounds on which these reefs are located rise from a depth of around 200m on the seafloor to 50-80m at the top of some mounds. Live L. Pertusa reefs have been confirmed at five locations (mounds) within the site to date.
The site is unique in the inshore waters (within 12 nm of the coast) of the UK, being the only known area with extensive coldwater coral (L. Pertusa) reefs. There are only three offshore sites identified with this type of reef (Darwin Mounds, North-West Rockall and Hatton Bank).
Summary of the approaches to management
There are 2 approaches presented;
The 1 st approach would prohibit the use of any demersal fishing gear on a zonal basis, and apply a vessel capacity restriction of 100 GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) for access to the SAC.
The 2 nd approach would prohibit the use of demersal mobile gears throughout the SAC, and any demersal static fishing gear on a zonal basis.
See the Protected Area A section in the following documents;
See questions 1 - 3