Cold water coral reef management from an ecosystem service perspective
Many countries have put in place protection of cold water coral (CWC) reef areas in relation to fishing, especially bottom trawling. As little has been known about the ecosystem function of CWC, protection has largely been driven by existence values such as uniqueness/rareness, charisma and low resistance from fishermen due to limited effects upon fisheries. This paper identifies the services from CWC, underlining the supporting services that may determine the flow of the more direct provisioning, regulating and cultural services. Current research points to the value of CWC as a habitat for commercially interesting species, which motivates management of these resources to include a more comprehensive set of mechanisms, such as placing incentives to encourage a change of gear from bottom trawling to less destructive methods in less densely covered CWC areas, and possibly a stronger focus on other benthic habitats that are equally or more valuable, such as sponges.