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Hatton Bank MPA

Updated Conservation Advice was produced for Hatton Bank cSAC in March 2018 and is available in the Conservation Advice section.

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. 

Site

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.

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Legislation

Legislation behind the designation: EU Habitats Directive 1992 transposed into UK law by the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

 

Protected features

Features Features Type
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.

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.

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Site Timeline

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.

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1 The North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission.

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Relevant Documentation

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.

These resources are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.

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Summary

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. 

 

Site overview

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 Natura 2000 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.

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Evidence

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.

 

Data analysis reports

 

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.

 

Knowledge gaps

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.

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Conservation Advice

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). 

Document Overview
Background Information Explains the purpose of the advice and when it must be referred to.

Conservation Objectives

Supplementary Advice on the Conservation Objectives (SACO)

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).

  • Site condition presents our up-to-date understanding of the condition of features within the site;
  • Conservation benefits which the site can provide, these help you understand what is important about the site and why it needs protecting; and
  • Conservation measures which JNCC considers are needed to support achievement of the conservation objectives. These provide clarity around measures needed to support restoration or maintenance of the feature(s) within the site.
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.

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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 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 contracting party 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:

  1. 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.
  2. The implementation of management measures – management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
  3. Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a site's conservation objectives.
  4. 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.

Fisheries

Licensable activities

  • No licensable activities are currently known to take place within this MPA.
  • Should interest be expressed by developers in the future, a legal framework for consenting licensed activities would need to be developed.
  • 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.

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Monitoring

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.

Information on monitoring of this MPA will be provided when it becomes available.

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Assessment

Last updated: November 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.

 

UK State of the Seas Reports & UK Marine Strategy Part 1

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.

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