High densities of pennatulaceans (Phylum Cnidaria: Order Pennatulacea), a vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator taxa, were encountered at three sites on the northeastern shelf of the South Orkney Islands (Subarea 48.2). The details of these encounters, utilizing occurrence and abundance in bottom trawl catches, are provided. These three new sites are in close proximity to two other currently registered VMEs, one of which was based solely on high densities pennatulaceans. Although the three proposed new VMEs are consistent with requirements for designation as VMEs under CM 22-06, it is proposed that consideration be given to creating a larger precautionary region that encompasses the cluster of these VMEs. The physical height of these pennatulaceans should also be taken into consideration when providing advice on midwater trawling activities in this region. This notification is structured according to the guidelines set out in Conservation Measure 22-06 (2009), ANNEX 22-06/B.
Dr Christopher Jones (United States of America)
Dr George Watters (United States of America)