CS12 Coral Reefs
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
ScottDB, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, dbscott@is.dal.ca
Risk, M, J, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, riskmj@mcmail.ca
Willison, M, , Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, willison@is.dal.ca
Hillaire-Marcel, C, , Univ. de Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada, chm@uqam.ca
The deep-water coral communities off Canada’s East Coast are attracting increasing attention, as fish habitat and an archive of priceless climatic information. Northern European waters have deep reefs made of Lophelia, while Canada has “forests” of gorgonian corals at shelf depths. Whereas some of the Scandinavian reef areas have been set aside as reserves, as yet Canada has not acted. Fishers off our East Coast have known about the value of these forests as fish habitat for centuries. Video obtained during the 2001 ROPOS submersible cruise shows why: fish (mainly cod and redfish) shelter in and among the corals, as they would on a modern coral reef. Coral communities also support characteristic benthic fauna not found elsewhere. These deep areas are undergoing continued stress from trawling and oil exploration. We suggest that, as a minimum, MPA’s be erected around known areas of coral concentration, such as the NE Channel and the Stone Fence. “This gap in protected areas deserves our earliest attention.”(McAllister, 1998). (This presentation is dedicated to the memory of Don McAllister.)