Beach or mountain?

© OCEANA

Author: Natividad Sánchez
Date: April 11, 2013



You know, we at Oceana want it all, which is perhaps why we love seamounts so much.

It’s not just because they are feeding grounds and spawning areas for highly migratory species; or because they attract lots of sharks, tunas, turtles, cetaceans and seabirds; or because you can find a wide variety of habitats and species from their peaks to their bases. It is because seamounts have it all!

So, while our team in Copenhagen just published a series of proposals for Marine Protected Areas in the Baltic Sea, we’ve also got a campaigner fighting for the protection of seamounts in the Mediterranean at the General Fisheries Commission meeting in Rome this week.

There are 59 seamounts in the Mediterranean that are over 1,000m in height, and many other minor underwater elevations. These biodiversity hotspots are considered to be priority marine ecosystems by the FAO and we can’t do anything but agree.

Over the course of our many expeditions we have documented seamounts in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Alboran Sea, and they were all so fascinating that we couldn’t avoid highlighting these unique places in many of our conservation proposals, such as Oceana MedNet.

This week in Rome we are stressing that protecting seamounts means protecting fish stocks, too. 80% of managed fish stocks in the Mediterranean are overexploited, so preserving the places that allow them to feed and reproduce seems like a win-win approach. So it’s not just that we love seamounts, but that everybody else should as well! Don’t you agree?