Evidence of Coral reefs in the Irish Sea08/10/2012 15:55:02 By Johnny Woodlock of the Sea Fishery advisory Group - Irish seal sanctuary
Realising the significance of this find I notified the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Marine Institute. The Marine Institute confirmed my identification. Neither body was aware of Lophelia being present in the Irish Sea.
In August 2012 the same fisherman told me that he had seen a similar piece of coral in the house of a friend, also a retired trawlerman. He was able to access this new piece and I photographed it and could identify it as another piece of Lophelia pertusa. We were able to establish the co-ordinates where both pieces had been hauled aboard and these have been forwarded to the Marine Institute.
Trawlers typically pull their nets for hours before hauling them up but the first piece had fouled the net so the fisherman is confident that the co-ordinates are accurate.
Area has been heavily trawled
This reflects a report written in 1837 which refers to corals off the Isle of Man which fishermen believed were used by Herring as spawning grounds, however local fishermen blamed trawlers for "injuring the ground by scraping it quite smooth". This report also quotes anecdotal evidence of two coral banks on the Eastern side of the Isle of Man, in about sixteen fathoms of water.