You can probably guess the main habitat that is found at Mud Hole ... mud! It’s something we have a lot of in the northern Irish Sea, but without it this region would be far poorer. It is home to a diverse range of creatures that form a vital part of the Irish Sea food web.
Mud Hole is deep-water mud, around 35m deep, located 21km off the coast of Cumbria and covers an area of 73km2. Mud is rich in nutrients and important for carbon storage, it also forms a vital part of the Irish Sea food web. This is a perfect habitat for burrowing creatures such as Dublin Bay prawns, angular crabs and shrimps. Dublin Bay prawns are of great interest to the fishing industry so the survival of this habitat is vital to the sustainability of this creature. Delicate sea pens and hydroids also make this mud their home, as do urchins and a variety of molluscs. A diverse number of worms also feature here, creating volcano-like domes on the seabed.
There is more life in muddy habitats than rainforests and coral reefs!
Show your love for mud
Unfortunately, intensive trawling for Dublin Bay prawns occurs in most muddy areas of the Irish Sea.
There is currently a lack of protection for muddy habitats in the Irish Sea. Therefore, it is critical that Mud Hole is protected as soon as possible to safeguard valuable species and habitats.