|JNCC prepared updated formal conservation advice for the Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC in March 2018. Further information is available in the Conservation Advice section below.|
Status: Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Anton Dohrn Seamount is situated 230 km west of the Outer Hebrides, to the west of Scotland. The seamount is an extinct volcano with steep sides and a relatively flat top that is approximately 40 km in diameter.
Anton Dohrn Seamount is an extinct volcano situated 230 km west of the Outer Hebrides, to the west of Scotland. The seamount hosts a range of Annex I reef sub-types, including bedrock reef in the upper regions of the seamount and stony reefs on the lower flanks. In addition, there are biogenic cold-water coral reefs present along the edge of the seamount cliffs and on smaller volcanic structures called parasitic cones at the base of the seamount. The bedrock reefs, and the stony reefs further down the flanks, support a diverse range of species including sea cucumbers, brittlestars, corals and sponges. At the bottom of the flanks of the seamount, the stony reef gives way to finer gravels, which are colonised by many large single-celled organisms, known as xenophyophores. The biogenic reefs are interspersed with dense aggregations of corals typical in places of the OSPAR Threatened and/or Declining habitat known as ‘coral gardens’, as well as sponges, sea urchins and sea lilies.
More detailed site information can be found in the Summary section.
Legislation behind the designation: EU Habitats Directive 1992 transposed into UK law by the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
|1170 Reefs||Annex I habitat*|
*For the latest Annex I habitat resource figures, please see the link to the latest Habitats Directive Article 17 reporting in the Assessment section below.
Specific information on the conservation objectives relating to this site is provided in the Conservation Advice section.
The acquisition of new data may result in updates to our knowledge on feature presence and extent within this site. The most up-to-date information is reflected on the map in this section and in JNCC’s MPA mapper, and the evidence underpinning this can be viewed in the Evidence section below.
The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of the Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC. More detail can be found within the Relevant Documentation section below.
The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC were produced during the selection and designation process and therefore may be out of date. This Site Information Centre is the most up-to-date source of information for this MPA, and will reflect any additional information gathered since these documents were produced. Information about the SAC site selection process is available on JNCC's SAC webpages.
- Natura Standard Data Form – Details about the SAC and the designated features.
- SAC Selection Assessment Document – Overview of the SAC, designated features and rationale for site selection.
- Post-consultation Report & Impact Assessment – Overview of the consultation outcomes, and an assessment of the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of the designation.
- JNCC's formal conservation advice for this site is provided in the Conservation Advice section.
This relevant documentation is available on JNCC's Resource Hub.
Last updated: January 2019
The information for this site summary was adapted from documents listed in the Relevant Documentation section and incorporates any further information gathered since these documents were produced.
Anton Dohrn Seamount is located to the west of Scotland, about 200 km from the Outer Hebrides in the Rockall Trough, a deep-water channel in the North-east Atlantic. The seamount is a former volcano, roughly circular in shape, and was last active 40–70 million years ago. The top is fairly uniform in depth (at 1,100 m) and is surrounded by steep cliff slopes extending down towards a moat at ~2,400 m water depth. The seamount is approximately 1,800 m high from the deepest point of the moat to the crest of the feature, and about 40 km in diameter. On the lower flanks, parasitic cones occur that were formed when volcanic material erupted from lateral fractures rather than the central vent.
The site contains a series of bedrock, stony and biogenic reefs – sub-types of Annex I reef. The upper regions of the seamount flanks are bedrock reef grading to stony reef on the lower flanks. These habitats support assemblages of sea cucumbers, brittlestars, cup corals and sponges. At the base of the seamount flanks, bedrock and stony reef outcrop on ridges, extending radially from the centre of the seamount, and on parasitic cones. In places, both these features support dense aggregations of sea whips (or sea fans) and other corals, in communities known as 'coral gardens' – an OSPAR Threatened and/or Declining habitat. Also present is biogenic reef formed from Lophelia pertusa and Solenosmilia variabilis cold-water corals. This structurally complex habitat supports a diverse and unique range of fauna, including black corals, sea whips, soft corals and stony corals.
Within the Rockall Trough and Bank Regional Sea, where Anton Dohrn Seamount is situated, there are three other SACs designated for the presence of Annex I reef: Darwin Mounds SAC, North West Rockall Bank SAC and East Rockall Bank SAC. Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC provides the only example of a mixture of stony, bedrock and biogenic reef sub-types on a seamount. Recommendation of all these sites within the same Regional Sea is justified partly because of the differences between the reef types at each site (structure and associated communities) to ensure the variation of types is represented in the network of SACs, and partly to ensure sufficient proportion of the total UK resource of reef is included within the UK SAC network. Further detail on the evidence for this SAC can be found within the Evidence section.
Site location: Co-ordinates for this SAC can be found in the Natura 2000 Standard Data Form listed in the Relevant Documentation section.
Site area: 1,429 km2
Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC covers a similar area to the Peak District National Park (1,437 km2).
Site depth range: From the summit of the seamount 760 m below sea-level, the flanks descend to approximately 2,400 m below sea-level at the base of the seamount.
Charting Progress 2 Biogeographic Region: Atlantic North-West Approaches, Rockall Trough and the Faeroe/Shetland Channel.
Site boundary description: The boundary is a relatively simple polygon enclosing the minimum area necessary to ensure protection of the Annex I habitat. The cSAC boundary has been drawn in a ring shape that incorporates the Annex I habitats on the cliff edge, seamount flanks, radial ridges and parasitic cones. It excludes the central summit of the seamount, which comprises mostly sands and gravels, in order to reduce the area of 'non-Annex I' feature within the site boundary. As bottom trawling could threaten the Annex I reef feature, the site boundary includes a margin to allow for the mobile gear on the seabed being some distance from the vessel. The Annex I features at the foot of the seamount slope are situated at a maximum of 2,000 m water depth. Assuming a ration of 2:1 fishing warp length to depth on the continental shelf, the outer extent of the boundary is defined to include a margin of approximately 4,000 m from the reef features. The Annex I features at the summit edge are located at approximately 1,000 m water depth. The inner extent of the boundary, therefore, includes a margin of approximately 2,000 m from the reef feature.
Last updated: January 2019
There are a range of data that underpin this SAC. The full overview of the data used to support site identification along with information on confidence in feature presence and extent is available in the Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC Selection Assessment Document. JNCC will be adding relevant survey data for this MPA to its MPA mapper in due course.
Some of the data for this SAC have been collected through JNCC-funded or collaborative surveys and some through other means. Data from these surveys provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site.
Survey and data gathering
- Deep Links Project (2016) – A collaborative project between Plymouth University's Deep Sea CRU and University of Oxford, in partnership with JNCC and British Geological Survey, funded by NERC. During May and June 2016 the team undertook a 6 week research cruise in the North East Atlantic, including Anton Dohrn Seamount, on board the RRS James Cook collecting data. This project aims to investigate the theory that populations at bathyal depths are more isolated because the currents that transport larvae decrease with depth.
- JNCC/British Geological Survey/University of Plymouth surveys of Anton Dohrn and East Rockall Bank (2009) – Commissioned by JNCC and undertaken by the British Geological Survey, University of Plymouth and Marin Mättenik AB, this survey took place between 1 and 29 of July 2009. The survey collected high-quality acoustic and photographic 'ground-truthing' data to enable the distribution, extent and biological characterisation of the Annex I reef. For further information, see the cruise report (Stewart et al., 2009):
- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Surveys off North of Scotland (2005) – The SEA surveys were commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department for Energy and Climate Change). These surveys, in which JNCC collaborated, collected multibeam and underwater imagery data from areas off the north and west coasts of Scotland.
Data analysis reports
Analyses of data gathered as part of the surveys listed above, as well as other relevant data analysis products, are available via the following reports:
- Developing an interim technical definition for Coral Gardens specific for UK waters and its subsequent application to verify suspected records. JNCC Report No. 507 (2014) – JNCC commissioned a contract to improve the definition of the OSPAR Threatened and/or Declining habitat 'coral gardens' and apply the definition to infer the location of coral garden habitat in UK waters. The report by Henry and Roberts (2014) supports the presence of coral gardens on the parasitic cones in Anton Dohrn SAC.
- JNCC Offshore Natura Survey of Anton Dohrn Seamount and East Rockall Bank Areas of Search (reporting is underway and will be made available in due course).
- Strategic Environmental Assessment Area 7 Photographic Analysis (2006) – Narayanaswamy et al. (2006) undertook analysis of the photos collected during the SEA 7 2005 survey by the Scottish Association of Marine Science and the University of Plymouth.
Additional relevant literature
References for further supporting scientific literature consulted during the identification of this site can be found in the Selection Assessment Document. Please be aware that although these sources contain information in relation to this MPA, they do not necessarily represent the views of JNCC.
- Davies J.S., Stewart H.A., Narayanaswamy B.E., Jacobs C., Spicer J., Golding N. and Howell K.L. (2015) Benthic Assemblages of the Anton Dohrn Seamount (NE Atlantic): Defining Deep-Sea Biotopes to Support Habitat Mapping and Management Efforts with a Focus on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. PLoS ONE 10 (5): e0124815. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124815 – Analysis of still images and video ground-truthing identified 13 biological communities (biotopes) on the flanks of Anton Dohrn Seamount that can be applied in habitat mapping.
Last updated: March 2018
Updated formal conservation advice for this MPA was produced in March 2018. Further information on the approach used to develop this advice is available on our Conservation Advice webpages along with a Glossary of Terms used in JNCC's conservation advice and a short video explaining how to use the conservation advice packages.
You must refer to this advice if you:
- undertake a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) for a plan or project that could impact the site;
- provide information for a HRA;
- respond to specific measures to support delivery of the conservation objectives for the site; and
- consider the need to put new or additional management measures in place.
You may also find it useful to refer to this advice if you:
- carry out any other activity that could impact the site.
We will engage with stakeholders to identify any lessons which JNCC can learn from customers who have used the advice, with a view to continuing to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.
The following table provides an overview of the components of the conservation advice, and provides hyperlinks to each of the products for this MPA. These elements together form JNCC’s formal conservation advice for this site and should be read in conjunction with each other. This updated advice replaces the previous Regulation 18 package for the site. This advice reflects the most up-to-date evidence held by JNCC (correct as of March 2018).
Explains the purpose of the advice and when it must be referred to.
The Conservation Objectives set out the broad ecological aims for the site. JNCC provides supplementary advice in the SACO which is essential reading to support interpretation of these conservation objectives.
You can use these documents to assess the impacts of your planned activity on the important attributes of the site.
Please note our current understanding of whether the available evidence indicates that each attribute needs to be recovered or maintained is not provided here. However, links to available evidence for the site are provided and should you require further site-specific information for the site, please contact us.
These statements provide a summary of the Supplementary Advice on the Conservation Objectives (SACO).
Provides information on the activities capable of affecting site integrity and therefore achievement of the site’s conservation objectives.
This is a starting point for determining potential management requirements. It does not take into account the intensity, frequency or cumulative impacts from activities taking place. It is simply to advise you of the possible adverse impacts that your activity can have on a MPA’s features.
Use the advice on operations to determine those pressures your activity causes that could harm the habitat and/or species features of the site.
These documents are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.
Activities and Management
Last updated: June 2017
Management status: Progressing towards being well managed
Progress is ongoing with the recommendation of fisheries management proposals to the European Commission and ongoing site condition monitoring work will be required in order to conclude with confidence as to the degree to which the site is moving towards or achieving its conservation objectives.
This site forms part of the UK's contribution to the OSPAR Commission's network of MPAs, Europe’s Natura 2000 network, and the Emerald Network established under the Bern Convention. As the UK is a signatory to the OSPAR Commission, JNCC is committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is 'well-managed' by 2020.
JNCC considers 'well-managed' to mean the timely progress of an MPA around the 'MPA management cycle'. This involves:
- The documentation of appropriate management information – conservation objectives, advice on activities capable of affecting the protected features of a site, and spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected features of a site.
- The implementation of management measures – management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
- Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a site's conservation objectives.
- Assessment of progress towards conservation objectives – using available information to infer whether or not a site is moving towards or has achieved its conservation objectives.
The sub-sections that follow provide an account of the progress of Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC around each of the four stages in the MPA management cycle.
1. The documentation of appropriate management information
- The conservation objectives and advice on activities capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected feature of this site are available within the Conservation Advice section. Further information is available on our Conservation Advice webpages.
- Spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected feature of this MPA is available via JNCC's MPA mapper.
- JNCC is in the process of developing downloadable MPA data packages where appropriate permissions to share datasets are in place.
2. The implementation of management measures
This section details progress towards the implementation of management measures for activities considered capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected feature of the site. The protected feature of the site is considered to be sensitive to pressures associated with fishing and 'licensable' activities.
- There is evidence of mobile demersal and pelagic fishing activity within the MPA and UK and non-UK registered vessels have been active in the area.
- Marine Scotland is the lead authority regarding the implementation of, and compliance with, any measures to managing fishing activity. Further information on progress is available via Marine Scotland’s webpages.
- In 2011, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advised the EU that indicator species for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) are present on the seamount, and recommended an area that should be closed to all bottom contacting fishing gears to protect these VMEs. At present, the EU has not implemented this advice.
- Whilst 'licensable' activities such as oil and gas exploration and production do not take place within Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC at present, any future proposals would have to comply with Regulation 28 (Protection of European offshore marine sites and European sites) of the The Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
- Our conservation advice supports the consents process by setting out the conservation objectives for the protected feature of this MPA and advice on activities that may result in pressures to which the protected feature is considered sensitive.
- Further information on JNCC's role in the provision of advice for licensed activities in the UK offshore area is available on JNCC's offshore industry advice webpages.
- There is a radio calling in point present in the site boundary and parts of the site may be crossed by ships.
- Under international law, ships have a right of passage at sea including in areas designated as MPAs (unless management specifies the restriction of ship transiting as outlined through international maritime organisational measures). The pressures associated with shipping activity within Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC are not considered likely to impact the protected features of the site.
3. Site condition monitoring
Fishing vessel monitoring data is used to monitor compliance with the management measure in place.
Site condition monitoring surveys are yet to take place within this MPA.
Further information will be made available within the Monitoring section in due course.
4. Assessment of progress towards conservation objectives
No long-term condition monitoring data is available to determine whether the MPA is moving towards or has reached its conservation objectives. The site has a 'restore' conservation objective based on the findings of a vulnerability assessment which suggests the site is unlikely to be moving towards its conservation objectives. Further information will be provided within the Assessment section as it becomes available.
Last updated: June 2017
JNCC is currently leading on the development of a strategy for biodiversity monitoring across all UK waters, to include MPA monitoring. Data and evidence collected from MPA monitoring activities will aim to:
- Enable assessment of condition of the features within sites;
- Enable assessment of the degree to which management measures are effective in achieving the conservation objectives for the protected features;
- Support the identification of priorities for future protection and/or management; and,
- Enable Government to fulfil its national and international assessment and reporting commitments in relation to MPAs and help identify where further action may be required.
Information on monitoring of this MPA will be provided when it becomes available.
Last updated: January 2019
Assessments of the condition of designated features in offshore MPAs are required to report against our legal obligations. Ideally these assessments should be based on observed data, and then measured against targets for pre-defined indicators. However, for MPAs in offshore waters we do not always have the appropriate information to be able to do so. This is particularly true for seabed habitats, which are the main type of feature designated for protection in offshore MPAs.
To address these challenges, JNCC has been an active partner in the development of new approaches and tools for the assessment of habitats and species for a variety of national and international status reports.
Conservation Assessment Reports
Every six years, Member States of the European Union are required (by Article 17 of the Directive) to report on implementation of the Habitats Directive. The latest report on the Conservation Status of Annex I habitats and Annex II species on the Habitats Directive was submitted by the UK in 2019 and provided an assessment of the conservation status of relevant habitats and species within UK marine waters during period 2013–2018; information on the condition of features within SACs have made a contribution to this report.
Charting Progress 2 (CP2) published in 2010, is a comprehensive report on the state of the UK seas. It was published by the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) community which has over 40 member organisations. The report was based on a robust, peer-reviewed evidence base and describes progress made since the publication of Charting Progress in 2005. It provides key findings from UK marine research and monitoring for use by policy makers and others, as we move towards the UK vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. The results from CP2 were incorporated into the UK Marine Strategy Part 1: UK Initial Assessment and Good Environmental Status published in 2012 under the UK Marine Strategy Regulations (2010). The UK Marine Strategy Part 1 (2012) also set out the UK’s definition for Good Environmental Status, which could be achieved by meeting a series of environmental targets. JNCC worked with other organisations in the UKMMAS community to develop a series of indicators that were used to assess progress against each of the targets and to report on progress made since 2012. The results of these assessments have been published in the UK Marine Strategy Part 1: UK Updated Assessment and Good Environmental Status in 2019. Detailed evidence used to make these assessments is available via the Marine Online Assessment Tool (MOAT). It also sets out proposals for updated high-level objectives, targets and operational targets to be used for 2018 to 2024, which build on those set in 2012.
It is worth noting the two other parts of the UK Marine Strategy: UK Marine Strategy Part Two: marine monitoring programmes, published in 2014 and UK Marine Strategy Part Three: programme of measures published in 2015. Updates to these will be made in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
OSPAR Quality Status Reports
Many of the assessments in the updated UK Marine Strategy Part 1 2019 were developed and produced in collaboration with other contracting Parties of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic. In 2017 OSPAR Published its Intermediate Assessment (IA2017). The IA 2017 further develops OSPAR’s understanding of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic and its current status. It demonstrates OSPAR’s progress towards realising its vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic, used sustainably. IA2017 follows on from OSPAR’s previous holistic assessment, the OSPAR Quality Status Report in 2010 (QSR2010) and in 2000 (QSR2000).
JNCC continues to develop and pilot tools for the assessment of marine habitats and species in offshore waters to improve the quality and transparency of our offshore MPA assessments, and contribute to the monitoring of marine biodiversity in UK waters. These tools cover methods for producing interim assessments of site features and their responses to pressures, as well as developing more robust indicators for determining condition of the features.