Fishermen have helped scientists and researchers from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s, Newfoundland to discover a deep biodiversity hotspot in the waters off Makkovik.
The hotspot is a mound below the ocean discovered several years ago by local fisherman Joey Angnatok.
While fishing for turbot, Angnatok has his gear fouled on the mound; however, he did notice that when he pulled it back up, there was a wide range of sponges and corals tangled up in his gear.
After hearing about this, DFO ecologist David Cote attempted to find the mound in 2020 but was unsuccessful. However, he persevered and managed to find it in July this year.
According to Cote:
“We were really excited to come across this 200-metre cliff, which is about the height of a 60-storey building. And on this cliff were these beautiful hanging gardens of pinky-orange corals, called primnoa, that were hanging off it, mixed with a bunch of sponges.”
While DFO coral research scientist Barbara Neves said:
“We saw one individual, one specimen, and then we started to see more and more and more, and then you begin screaming and you have a bunch of scientists that are very excited, and the ROV pilot is trying to stay focused. So yeah, it was quite exciting.”