A one kilometer long honeycomb reef has been reported in the Waterford estuary. 

Members of Coastwatch Ireland are now working to find out if this honeycomb reef is the biggest of its kind in Europe. A French reef near the town of Saint-Malo in Brittany currently holds the record.

The honeycomb reef is created by a small worm (sabellaria albeolata) that lives inside small tubes that it builds from sand and shell. When thousands of these worms work together they can form massive reefs along the coastline and form useful habitat for other marine life.

As part of Biodiversity Week 2015, Coastwatch invites members of the public to walk the shore at low tide to check for reef outcrops and help measure  the length and size of the reef.  Kayakers and divers are also invited as the worms continue building into shallow water.

On May 18th the first set of Coastwatchers started checking the shore simultaneously around low tide from Hook Head, Co. Wexford to Annestown, Co. Waterford coast, focusing their search where previous Coastwatch survey reports had identified some honeycomb reef presence.

First Results look very encouraging. We are looking for more surveyors to give an hour and search their shore.

– Karin Dubsky, Project Coordinator with Coastwatch Europe.

On the Wexford side, Emmet Delaney found a healthy honeycomb reef 10- 55m wide straddling low water. He walked two 500 m survey units from Booley Bay towards Duncannon and still hadn’t reached the reef end.

On the Waterford side, Coastwatchers lead by Alan Walshe had planned a training event at Tramore Lady’s slip. Pupils of Our Lady of Mercy School Waterford  and other surveyors found reef patches like big hedgehogs attached to the bed rock over a ~ 250m2  area. Pictures below.

Honeycomb reefs in Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

Honeycomb reefs in Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

You can read more about Honeycomb Reefs and ways to identify them here- Marine Reserves Coalition.