Status: Candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC)
Hatton Bank is a large volcanic bank, situated in the Atlantic North-West Approaches, towards the western extent of the UK Continental Shelf.
Situated in the Atlantic North-West Approaches, towards the western extent of the UK Continental Shelf, Hatton Bank is a large volcanic bank. It is an elongate, arc-shaped bank, stretching nearly 500 km in length and rising up to 1 km above the surrounding seafloor.
The vast size and topographic complexity of the Hatton Bank supports a wide diversity of biological communities, each associated with different seafloor structures and substratum types. The bedrock, cobbles and coral rubble are home to rich coral gardens and deep-sea sponge aggregations, and the distinct pinnacles and mounds support elaborate cold-water coral reefs.
More detailed site information can be found within the Summary section below.
Map displaying the Hatton Bank MPA boundary and associated protected feature data. Visit JNCC's MPA Mapper to further view and explore data for this MPA.
Legislation behind the designation: EU Habitats Directive 1992 transposed into UK law by the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).
|1170 Reefs||Annex I habitat|
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 on this page and in JNCC’s MPA mapper, and the evidence underpinning this can be viewed in the Evidence section.
The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of Hatton Bank cSAC. More detail can be found in the Relevant Documentation section below.
The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to the Hatton Bank cSAC were produced during the selection and designation process and therefore may be out of date.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.
- Standard Data Form – provides details about the cSAC and the designated features.
- SAC Selection Assessment Document – A more detailed overview of the cSAC, designated features and rationale for site selection.
- Post-consultation Report & Impact Assessment – An 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 available in the Conservation Advice section.
These resources are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.
Last updated: October 2017
Information for this site summary was adapted from the SAC Selection Assessment Document and incorporates any further information gathered since this document was produced. Please refer to this document in the Relevant Documentation section for further details and information sources.
Hatton Bank is a large volcanic bank, situated in the Atlantic North-West Approaches, towards the western extent of the UK Continental Shelf. The water depth across the bank ranges from less than 500 m on the northern part of the bank, to over 1,000 m at the base. At its south-eastern tip, an igneous complex called Lyonesse forms a topographic high, rising to 520 m below sea-level, some 350 m shallower than the surrounding bank.
The vast size and topographic complexity of the Hatton Bank supports a wide diversity of biological communities, each associated with different geomorphological structures and substratum types present on the bank. Much of the seabed on Hatton Bank comprises coarse sandy sediment; however the bank also supports extensive areas of bedrock reef (particularly on the ridges along the top of the bank), as well as many areas of stony reef. Iceberg ploughmarks, a variant of stony reef that are shaped by the movement of icebergs during the last ice age, have also been recorded within the cSAC.
The hard substrata provided by the boulders, cobbles and bedrock reef support a rich diversity of species, including scleractinian corals, stylasterids ('lace' corals), antipatharians ('black' corals), soft corals, cup corals and gorgonian sea fans; as well as a range of sponges; sessile sea cucumbers; anemones and brachiopods. The presence of coral gardens has been confirmed on the bedrock, cobbles and coral rubble on Hatton Bank within the cSAC boundary.Deep-sea sponge aggregations have also been confirmed within the site boundary, comprising high densities of vase-shaped glass sponges. Both of these habitats are considered to be Threatened and/or Declining across the North-east Atlantic by the OSPAR Commission.
Primarily found in the southern region and across the north-west Hatton Bank outcrops, the elaborate cold-water coral reefs are associated with pinnacles and mounds, and can be tens of metres in height and hundreds of metres wide. Their intricate structure is formed by both the Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata species, which, in association with the surrounding dead coral framework, support a range of associated fauna. Lophelia pertusa reefs are also considered to be Threatened and/or Declining across the North-east Atlantic by OSPAR. Further detail on the evidence for this cSAC can be found in the Evidence section.
Site location: Co-ordinates for this cSAC can be found in the Standard Data Form listed in the Relevant Documentation section.
Site area: 15,694 km2
Site depth range: The shallowest area of the MPA is approximately 460 m below sea-level, and the deepest section is 1,740 m below sea-level.
Charting Progress 2 Biogeographic Region: Atlantic North-West Approaches, Rockall Trough and Faroe-Shetland Channel.
Site boundary description: Due to the size of the Hatton Bank and the limited number of scientific surveys undertaken in this area, survey data is not comprehensive across the full extent of the site. However, JNCC considers that there is sufficient up-to-date information with which to delineate a scientifically valid boundary that encompasses the known records of the reef feature on Hatton Bank. Data to inform the boundary is derived from a number of different sources, summarised in the Evidence section.
Last updated: October 2017
The full overview of the various data used to support site identification, along with information on confidence in feature presence and extent is available in the Hatton Bank 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 cSAC has 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 feature within the site.
Survey and data gathering
- ECOVUL/ARPA program (2005–2007) – Led by the Spanish Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), this work aimed to investigate vulnerable deep‐sea habitats between depths of 1,000–1,500 m below sea-level on the western and north-western flanks of the bank. Both multibeam survey and high resolution seismic profiles of large areas of the western flank of the bank were conducted, supported by biological survey in the form of bottom trawl, dredge and box core sampling.
- Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) (2005, 2006) – These surveys were run by DTI and JNCC, and set out to identify areas of Annex I reef habitat across Hatton Bank as well as collect multibeam data.
Data analysis reports
- Applying the OSPAR habitat definition of deep-sea sponge aggregations to verify suspected records of the habitat in UK waters (2014) – JNCC commissioned analysis of deep-sea sponge records, which determined verified that 9 out of 10 records on Hatton Bank could be verified as deep-sea sponge aggregations with high confidence.
- Developing an interim technical definition for Coral Gardens specific for UK waters and its subsequent application to verify suspected records (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 results support the presence of coral gardens on bedrock, cobbles and coral rubble on Hatton Bank within the cSAC boundary.
- Analysis of DTI SEA survey data (2006) – Survey data from the 2006 DTI and JNCC survey was analysed by Howell et al. (2007). The analysis characterised the biological communities present, identified key species from the areas surveyed, and confirmed the presence of areas of bedrock, stony and biogenic reef.
- Analysis of DTI SEA survey data (2005) – Analysis undertaken by Narayanaswamy et al. (2006) confirmed the presence of both cold-water corals on Hatton Bank, and also the presence of areas of bedrock, stony and biogenic reef.
- Analysis of ECOVUL/ARPA survey data – The analysis of data collected as part of this survey program has been presented in a number of papers and reports. Please refer to the Selection Assessment Document for further details.
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 which is of interest in relation to this MPA, they do not necessarily represent the views of JNCC.
- Sayago-Gil, M., Durán-Muñoz, P., Murillo, F.J., Díaz-del-Río, V., Serrano, A. and Fernández-Salas, L.M. (2012) A study of geomorphological features of the seabed and the relationship to deep-sea communities on the western slope of Hatton Bank (NE Atlantic Ocean). In: Harris, P.T. and Baker, E.K. (eds) Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat. Elsevier. 751–761. – Details the type of benthic communities associated with the seabed morphology and substrate between 600 m and 2,000 m depth.
- Sayago-Gil, M., Long, D., Hitchen, K., Díaz-del-Río, V., Fernández-Salas, L.M. and Durán-Muñoz, P. (2010) Evidence for current-controlled morphology along the western slope of Hatton Bank (Rockall Plateau, NE Atlantic Ocean). Geo-Marine Letters, 30, 99–111. – Lends further evidence to the extent and type of geomorphological features along the Western slope of the Bank.
- Roberts, J.M., Henry, L.A., Long, D. and Hartley, J.P. (2008). Cold-water coral reef frameworks, megafaunal communities and evidence for coral carbonate mounds on the Hatton Bank, north east Atlantic. Facies, 54, 297–316. – The first reported evidence for coral carbonate mound development in UK waters, suggesting that mound formation occurs through successive periods of coral framework growth and sedimentation.
If you are aware of any additional data or relevant scientific papers for this site not referred to in the Evidence above, or in the Hatton Bank Selection Assessment Document provided in the Relevant Documentation section, please contact us.
Last updated March 2018
Updated formal conservation advice is now available for this MPA. Further information on the approach used to develop this advice is available on the 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).
|Background Information||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.
|Conservation advice statements||
These statements provide a summary of the Supplementary Advice on the Conservation Objectives (SACO).
|Advice on operations||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 resources are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.
Activities and Management
Last updated: October 2017
Management status: Progressing towards being well managed.
The full extent of Hatton Bank cSAC has been closed to bottom fisheries since 2013, but directed site condition monitoring data is required to conclude with confidence the degree to which the site is moving towards or achieving its conservation objectives.
This site forms part of the networks of MPAs across the UK and contributes to international MPA networks such as that of the North-east Atlantic under OSPAR. As the UK is a contracting party to the OSPAR Commission, JNCC is committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is well-managed.
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 Hatton Bank cSAC 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 under 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. At the time of writing, there were no known activities taking place within the MPA.
- The full extent of Hatton Bank cSAC is closed to bottom fisheries under NEAFC Rec 19 2014: Protection of VMEs in NEAFC Regulatory Areas, as Amended by Recommendation 09:2015 and Recommendation 10:2018. Two further areas outside the SAC boundary, one to the south-east and one to the south-west of Hatton Bank, are also closed to demersal fisheries.
- Under The Common Fisheries Policy and Animals (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 Statutory Instrument (S.I.) 2019, No. 1312 (amending S.I. 2019, No. 753) there is a prohibition on the use of bottom-set gillnets, entangling nets, and trammel nets at depths greater than 200 m for the protection of deepwater shark species. These protective measures are also applied in the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) technical measures regulatory area (beyond European Union waters) through the same S.I.
- While 'licensable' activities such as oil and gas exploration and production do not take place within Hatton Bank cSAC at present, any future proposals would have to comply with Regulation 28 (Protection of European offshore marine sites and European sites) of The Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).
- 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.
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 in 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 under the Assessment section as it becomes available.
Last updated: October 2017
JNCC is currently leading on the development of a strategy for biodiversity monitoring across all UK waters, to include MPA monitoring. For MPAs, data and evidence collected from 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.