Deep-water corals are slow growing, fragile and vulnerable to the impacts of deep-water fisheries and the development activities of the offshore industries. In Ireland there is now evidence of major damage to deep-water corals linked to a recent expansion of the Irish deep-water fishery. This fishery uses trawls fitted with robust rock hopping gear and employs a high risk fishing technique, which is potentially very destructive to coral habitats. Consequently resource managers have been exploring the potential of marine protected areas (MPA) as a tool for the conservation of these coral ecosystems in the North East Atlantic. MPAs aim to minimise the socio-economic costs associated with closures or other management restrictions while still achieving the desired conservation objectives. However, the decision to use MPAs (and thereby restrict fishing) is often taken in the light of uncertainty over the value of the reserved habitats to the fishing industry. This paper reports on a choice experiment study carried out in Ireland in early 2007 aimed at partly addressing this uncertainty. The study primarily focused on determining the economic value held by the Irish public for the conservation of deep-sea corals using several variants of the concept of MPAs. They have endorsed MPA strategies that banned trawling in an MPA that included all areas where corals are thought to exist with no personal tax imposed, banned trawling in an MPA covering all known corals with a personal tax imposed of (sic) 1 p.a. and banned all fishing in an MPA covering all areas where corals are thought to exist with a personal tax imposed of (sic) l p.a. In terms of the probabilities attached to the individual attributes, the most preferred policy options were to ban trawling, protect all areas where corals are thought to exist, and pay a ring-fenced personal tax of (sic) 1 p.a. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.