Protect Deep-Sea Corals

Protect Deep-Sea Corals

The U.S. continental shelf’s edge in the Atlantic Ocean contains submerged cliffs and canyons that shelter hundreds of species, including magnificent deep-sea corals. These corals provide habitat for many fish and invertebrates and are among the oldest animals on Earth. Destructive bottom trawling gear could destroy these fragile, slow-growing structures, however. Fisheries managers are considering a historic plan to protect a vast area of ocean floor from destructive bottom fishing in the mid-Atlantic. To fully protect corals this plan must include all of the canyons and deep regions that harbor these ecological treasures.

Crab
Crab
Video

Ancient Corals and Creatures of the Deep

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Video

Everywhere we go, we find new species," says Les Watling, Ph.D., an expert on corals. Fragile, slow-growing corals abound in deep canyons and along the edges of the continental shelf off the U.S. Atlantic coast.

The ribbonlike red organ is this jellyfish’s stomach. The color hides the prey it has consumed, which are often small bioluminescent (or glow-in-the-dark) animals.  Without this shield, the light from its meal might make the jellyfish a target for other predators.
The ribbonlike red organ is this jellyfish’s stomach. The color hides the prey it has consumed, which are often small bioluminescent (or glow-in-the-dark) animals.  Without this shield, the light from its meal might make the jellyfish a target for other predators.
Article

Top 10 Corals and Creatures in Mid-Atlantic’s ‘Deep-Sea Backyard’

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Article

Scientific explorations have revealed an abundance of deep-sea corals off the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. These slow-growing formations can live hundreds of years and shelter an array of amazing animals. But deep-sea corals are as fragile as they are fantastic, and fishing gear can easily damage or destroy them.

Additional Resources

Safeguarding the Hidden Treasures of the Mid-Atlantic
Safeguarding the Hidden Treasures of the Mid-Atlantic
Issue Brief

Safeguarding the Hidden Treasures of the Mid Atlantic

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Issue Brief

A vast stretch of the U.S. continental shelf’s edge in the Atlantic Ocean contains submerged cliffs, canyons, and seamounts that are just now being explored. These features form essential habitat for hundreds of species adapted to the dark depths, including magnificent deep-sea corals that can live for centuries.