The Porcupine Seabight, with its banks of coral reefs and carbonate mounds is found off the west coast of Ireland. After researchers uncovered that there may be significant damage being caused to these areas, the Irish Government established a group of representatives from government departments and government agencies, industry, academia and the legal profession in 2001. The group was set up to advise policy makers on the need to conserve cold-water corals.
In June 2003, the Irish Government announced its intention to designate a number of offshore sites as cold-water coral Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive. The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is currently engaged in identifying suitable sites. Formal designation of SACs will take place after a period of consultation.