Ireland’s coral reefs are to be classed as a national treasure.
Described by marine scientists as a ‘spectacular underwater wonderworld’, the reefs are growing on top of 900 foot tall mounds of hard coral skeletons that have built up over millions of years.
€27m will be spent mapping the seabed surrounding our coasts by the Geological Survey of Ireland.
155,000 square miles of seabed is being examined – an area ten times the size of Ireland.
The majority of the protected areas are 50 to 150 miles off the west coast.
The reefs which run for miles along the north and west coast will, as a result, be off limits for fishing trawlers.
Almost half of the reef coastlines surrounding Australia, Norway and New Zealand have been damaged by fishing.