Marine Conservation Zones


The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 allows for the creation of a new type of Marine Protected Area (MPA), called a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). MCZs will protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh inshore and UK offshore waters.  Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, a former Marine Nature Reserve, became the UK's first MCZ in January 2010. More information on Marine Conservation Zones is available on Defra's website.


The greater Pipefish (Syngnathus acus) is found around all British coasts © Paul KayCommon brittlestars (Ophiothrix fragilis) are common throughout UK seas © Paul KaySpiny lobster (Palinurus elephas) climbing a rocky reef © Paul Kay


MCZs in English inshore and English, Welsh and Northern Irish offshore waters will be identified through the Marine Conservation Zone Project. In Welsh inshore waters there will be a small number of Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zones identified through the Marine Conservation Zone Project Wales. Sites will be selected to protect not just the rare and threatened, but the range of marine wildlife.



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