§ Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to protect the Anton Dohrn and Rosemary Bank Seamounts. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
[holding answer 17 May 2004]: Seamounts are not one of the habitats listed on Annex I to the Habitats Seamounts Directive for which Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) can be designated. However, seamounts can support habitats such as reefs, which are listed on Annex I. At present, there is little biological information about these two areas, and therefore there is insufficient information to be able to assess whether they meet the site selection criteria for SAC.
Seamounts are one of the habitats on the initial list of threatened and/or declining habitats and species agreed by Ministers in June 2003 under OSPAR (The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) Annex V. Work is progressing during 2004 to identify and agree among contracting parties to OSPAR appropriate management measures (which may include marine protected areas) for a selection of the habitats and species on this list.