Banco de Galicia
Location: Banco de Galicia is a large submarine mountain located some 200 km west of the Galician coast, at the coordinates 42º 67’ Latitude N and 11º 74’ Longitude W. The shallower area is of about 6,250 km2, and a 2,500 m deep channel divides the Banco from the continental platform. Its total extension is difficult to assess, and it has an irregular shape: in the East area there is a 600-m peak, and towards the North-Northwest there is a slight slope starting at 1,000 m until it reaches the abyssal platform, at 5,000 m deep.
Area Characteristics: The information about Banco de Galicia and its ecosystems is rather scarce, and there have been few biological investigations made onsite. The scientific expeditions have emphasized the high productivity and nutrient concentration rates as regards the environment. The submarine mountains, such as the Banco de Galicia, operate as an island at the bottom of the oceans. Due to their tridimensional structure, they provide a large number of microhabitats. One of the most relevant species is the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa. There is some information about 86 species of fish related to the Banco, among which there are 11 species of sharks, including the kitefin shark and the Norwegian skate, which has been proposed as an endangered species by the OSPAR agreement for the Northeast Atlantic.
There are no artisan fisheries, and only commercial vessels of great power and length operate in its waters. The trawlers operate in the west sedimentary bottom areas, while the gillnets and the longliners operate in the east rock substratum environment. The anthropic impact of these activities has not yet been assessed