Vulnerable to disturbance, slender sea pens, heart urchins and the Dublin Bay prawn all live within the muddy sediments that this proposed Marine Conservation Zone would protect.
The fine mud found here predominantly supports sea-pen (feather-shaped colonial animals) and burrowing megafauna communities. On the surface of the mud, crabs and starfish hunt and scavenge, while brittlestars, worms, and bivalves (animals with paired, hinged shells) live within it. The burrowing animals that make their homes here include the Dublin Bay prawn (Nephrops), mud shrimps, and a fish called the Fries’ goby, and their burrow networks provide shelter for many small animals.
Designation of this site would be a substantial addition to subtidal mud habitats the marine protected area network in the Irish Sea, while contributing an example of deeper, offshore mud communities. The Nephrops (sometimes known as scampi/langoustine) found here is a commercially important species.
This site was put forward by Northern Ireland fishing interests
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 deep muddy habitats are protected as soon as possible to safeguard valuable species and habitats.