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Biodiversity in the Celtic Sea

Historically, the Celtic Sea* has been renowned for its rich and diverse wildlife.

Positioned on the North-East Atlantic shelf, its predominantly shallow waters receive nutrient-rich upwellings of water brought in by the Gulf Stream. The combination of shallow seas meeting deeper waters at the shelf edge and the mixing of warm and cool waters provide the ideal habitat for vast blooms of plankton. And where there is plankton, there are fish. The sea is rich in commercially important fish stocks including herring and mackerel. And on the sea bed grow kelp forests, sea grass beds and even cold-water corals – including the reef-forming Lophelia pertusa that can be found as deep as a thousand metres.

The Celtic Sea* coast is a coast of contrasts from steep rocky cliffs, to shingle beaches and mud flats and remote rocky islands. Each provides an important habitat to wildlife, particularly nesting birds. Millions of migratory waterfowl and waders depend on feeding and breeding grounds which are positioned along the East Atlantic Flyway.

* includes Western Channel

The Celtic Sea