Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Surveys (2005 and
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is in the process of
appraisal through which environmental protection and sustainable
development may be considered, and factored in to national and
local decisions regarding Government (and other) plans and
programmes - such as oil and gas licencing rounds. The SEA surveys
were commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry (now
Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)). These surveys, in
which JNCC collaborated, collected multibeam and underwater imagery
data from areas off the north and west coasts of Scotland.
In 2005 Anton Dohrn seamount, Rosemary Bank, Rockall Bank,
Hatton Bank and George Bligh Bank were surveyed. The survey vessel
RV Kommandor Jack collected multibeam, video and stills
data. In 2006 Pobie Bank, Papa Bank, George Bligh Bank, Hatton
Bank, Hatton South/Lyonesse, Polygonal Faults (in the
Rockall-Hatton Basin), Rosemary Bank, the Wyville Thomson Ridge,
the Faeroe Shetland Channel and the West Shetland Channel were all
surveyed. The survey vessel MV Franklin collected
multibeam, video and stills data.
During both these surveys, large areas of stony and bedrock reef
were recorded - some thought to have been formed by the ploughing
movement of icebergs through the seabed at the end of the last ice
age. The Wyville Thomson Ridge contained large areas of iceberg
ploughmarks forming stony reef. On the flanks of the ridge, bedrock
reef was present. Due to the convergence of different water masses
in the Wyville Thomson Ridge area, very different types of
communities were found on either side of the ridge. These reef
communities support sea urchins, sea spiders, sea cucumbers and a
range of colourful sponges and soft corals. In the areas of Rockall
Bank and Hatton Bank, colonies of cold water coral Lophelia
pertusa were found, forming areas of biogenic reef.
The data that was collected from these surveys have contributed
to the recommendation by JNCC to UK Government of three Special
Areas of Conservation (SACs):
- Wyville Thomson Ridge
- North-West Rockall cSAC;
- Hatton Bank dSAC.
Data analyses which were commissioned by JNCC have been
undertaken for data collected around Pobie Bank and additional data
collected on the 2009 survey to East Rockall and Anton Dohrn
seamount is currently being analysed.
- Howell, K.L., Davies, J.S., Jacobs, C., Narayanaswamy, B.E.
2008. Broadscale Survey of the Habitats of Rockall Bank and mapping
of Annex I 'Reef' Habitat. JNCC Report 422.
- Foster-Smith, R., Benson, A., Foster-Smith, J. 2009.
Interpretation of Pobie Bank East of Shetland Data for Annex I
Reef. JNCC Report 433.
If you have any further questions about JNCC's offshore survey
work then please contact us.