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    Evidence of a vulnerable marine ecosystem documented via tourist submarine off Cape Well-Met, Vega Island, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1)

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    S.J. Lockhart and R.C. Izendooren
    Submitted By:
    Dr Anton Van de Putte (Belgium)
    Approved By:
    Dr Anton Van de Putte (Belgium)

    One site is proposed herein as a VME based on high abundances of VME indicator taxa that exceed abundances of previously registered VMEs. The site is a wall off Cape Well-Met, Vega Island, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Video imagery was taken via submarine deployed by a tourist vessel. Data on the relative percent cover of all VME indicator taxa was sourced and analysed in the same manner to VMEs added to CCAMLR’s registry in 2018 (SC-CCAMLR-XXXVII) using all data from WG-EMM-18/35 for a direct comparison. The present site clusters with the three VMEs registered in 2018. The site is spectacularly diverse in sponges, with a high density of hexactinellids that is particularly notable. The Cape Well-Met benthic community’s complexity of structure formed by diverse indicator species makes this site archetypical of a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem.