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The deep-water coral Lophelia pertusa in Norwegian waters: distribution and fishery impacts - page 8 / 12

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Figure 5. Sonargram from a side scan sonar mounted on the ROV ‘Solo’. The arrows indicate a trawl track penetrating a coral area (confirmed by video-inspection). Sørmannsneset 16 May 1998.

The largest density of colonies was found in R3. The reason for this is not obvious, but there might be a connection with the distribution of North Atlantic Water (NAW). This water mass meets the Norwegian continental break at Storegga (Hansen & Østerhus, 2000). Here, the current splits in two on its way north- wards: one core borders the continental break while the other flows closer to land. The two main concen- trations of corals, along the edge and on the banks

south of Haltenbanken, are located in the midst of the NAW branches. However, the circulation pattern on the shelf in mid Norway is complex with several ed- dies and areas of retention basically governed by the bottom topography (see Sætre, 1999). As long as not all records reported by the fishermen are confirmed it is premature to further elaborate on this.

R1 and R4 exhibited the lowest occurrences of cor- als. This can indicate that Lophelia might be closer

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