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Oceana Finds Never Before Seen Species in the Gorringe Seamounts

Lucy Towers
22 October 2012, at 1:00am

GLOBAL - Regarded as an untouched enclave in the Atlantic, the Gorringe now displays signs of pollution due to human activity. Deep-sea sharks, hydrocoral, glass sponges, and black coral, among the new findings in these seamounts.

Oceana has documented the presence of litter and fishing gear in one of Europes major seamounts, the Gorringe bank. The images were taken during an expedition with researchers from the University of Algarve, in which stunning algae forests and a wide range of habitats with hundreds of species were filmed. Due to this great biodiversity, Oceana requests that protection of this enclave be promoted.

Gorringe is one of the marine mountainous areas with the widest range of environments. This spectacular underwater mountain range, more than 250 km off the Portuguese coast, rises from a depth of 5,000 m to 30 m below the surface.

Though some areas are completely untouched, some rocky bottoms are already strongly affected by human activity, with abandoned fishing gear, such as creels, fishing lines, nets, and ropes.

During last years expedition we found some new species whose existence in the Gorringe was unknown, such as branching black coral, hydrocoral, dogfish, birds nest sponge, and various gorgonia, says Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research at Oceana in Europe. There are dozens of species which have not been identified yet. We hope that they will provide new data on these ecosystems, and facilitate the protection and conservation of this unique enclave.