North Atlantic Ocean Offshore Special Area Conservation

Data set information

| Query EDMED |     

Data holding centreNational Parks and Wildlife Service
CountryIreland  Ireland
Time periodFrom January 2015 onwards
Geographical area

North Atlantic Ocean areas Belgica Mound, Hovland Mound, Porcupine Bank and Rockall Canyon


Date and time; Habitat characterisation; Habitat extent


A Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is defined in the European Union's Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), also known as the Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. They are designated to protect the 220 habitats and approximately 1000 species listed in annex I and II of the directive which are considered to be of European interest following criteria given in the directive. They must be chosen from the Sites of Community Importance by the State Members and designated SAC by an act assuring the conservation measures of the natural habitat. Presently there are 6 areas designated as SAC that are cold water coral reefs. Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine water that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The offshore SAC designations occur in the Belgica Mound Province, Hovland Mound Province, South-West Porcupine Bank, North-west Porcupine Bank, Porcupine Bank Canyon and South-east Rockall Bank zones of the North Atlantic Ocean to the west of Ireland. The offshore SAC designation occurred in January 2015. SAC designation implemented from the discovery of cold water coral reefs via seabed surveys presently being undertaken within an area known as the Currently Designated Irish Continental Shelf. SAC designation supports the correct implementation of strategies to protect the coral reefs for future conservation. Offshore SAC designation implemented by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Data is complete for protected sites designated.

OriginatorsNational Parks and Wildlife Service
Data web site
OrganisationNational Parks and Wildlife Service
ContactGareth John (GIS Manager)

National Parks and Wildlife Service
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2
D02 TW98

Collating centreMarine Institute
Local identifierPS.IE.DAHG.NPWS.OffshoreSpecialAreaConservation
Global identifier6488
Last revised2017-12-04