Help Support the Race to Save Deep-sea Corals
Though marine corals are often thought to be found in shallow tropical waters, two thirds of all known coral species are found in deep cold waters worldwide, typically well beyond the photic zone. Their dark, cold, nutrient-poor habitat means that deep-sea corals grow extremely slowly, though they can live to great age. Deep-sea corals provide critical bottom structure for a wide variety of fish and invertebrate species. Some, such as black corals and sea fans, create branching structures that can reach several meters in height and live for more than 4,000 years.
Deep-sea corals are globally threatened by the expanding footprint of bottom trawling. A single pass of a trawl net can destroy a coral habitat that has taken millennia to grow. Consequently, the United Nations has declared that deep-sea corals and their associated ecosystems need immediate protection from destructive fishing practices. The challenge is to find these remaining ancient coral ecosystems before they are lost forever. MARE has joined this effort to locate and document deep-sea corals off the coast of California. The data gathered will not only help identify where to protect, but will also support the larger effort of creating predictive models to help protect deep-sea corals worldwide.
Learn More About Deep-sea Corals and the Effects of Bottom Trawling
Video by Oceana and Alexandra Cousteau
Videos by Greenpeace