On Friday 4th January a two week survey will kick off a new round of planned JNCC offshore surveys for 2013. The first survey of the year will be heading out to a large muddy basin off Scotland called the Fladen Grounds. Two members of JNCC staff have joined the Cefas Endeavour research vessel, to undertake detailed surveys of three national Nature Conservation MPA proposals within the Fladen Grounds area. These MPA proposals could contribute to the protection and conservation of Scotland’s spectacular and diverse marine environment.
The three areas to be surveyed are Central Fladen MPA proposal, Western Fladen MPA proposal and South-east Fladen MPA proposal. These areas have been identified to protect components of the feature ‘Burrowed mud’. The Central Fladen MPA proposal includes Seapens and burrowing megafauna and the tall sea pen Funiculina quadrangularis, with Western and South-east Fladen identified as science-based alternatives to the representation of the seapens and burrowing megafauna contained within the Central Fladen MPA proposal. Burrowed mud habitats can contain a range of creatures like seapens, fireworks anemones, amphipods and burrowing megafauna such as the Dublin Bay Prawn Nephrops norvegicus, more commonly known as scampi.
The main aim of this survey is to gather additional evidence to support these Nature Conservation MPA proposals for the Scottish Marine Protected Area Project.