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“The diversity of species, the high level of endemism, as well as the productivity of adjacent areas make the Gorringe Bank one of the most unique seamounts in the Northeast Atlantic, and its protection should be considered an urgent matter”.

Not just because of the long fishing tradition in Portugal, but mostly for its largest marine area in Europe and the largest number of seamounts in the Northeast Atlantic, the Portuguese government should opt for the extension of its Natura 2000 Network by officially declaring the Gorringe Bank as a Site of Community importance (SCI) within the European Commission Habitats Directive.

It was in 2005 that Oceana, as the first organization, documented and photographed the seamounts of Gorringe Bank, located southwest of Cape St. Vincent, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal.  Two other at-sea expeditions to the Gorringe waters followed in 2011 and 2012. During these expeditions carried out with help of the ROV (remotely operated vehicle), our team of researchers identified 350 species and essential habitats representing the enclave of the Gorringe Bank and demonstrated the high necessity for its protection. The results of the findings have been published in the report “The seamounts of the Gorringe Bank”.

Today, we strongly support Portugal on the road to understanding the richness of its marine protected areas, and call the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests for development of specific measures to protect the very fragile biodiversity of the Gorringe Bank.

Take a look at our Flickr Album for more photos from our expeditions to the Gorringe Bank.

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