The Marine Environment

The Marine Environment

Lying at the junction of the North Sea, Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the south-west region has a diverse marine community and is considered a marine biodiversity hotspot.

A broad range of habitats and oceanographic influences from the Gulf Stream and Mediterranean has led to particularly rich populations, often at the edge of their northern or southern distribution ranges.

Many species of nature conservation importance use the area for part or all of their life, including various cetaceans, basking sharks and some rare invertebrates such as fan shells and pink sea fans.

There are also areas of rare habitats such as maerl and eelgrass beds, as well as excellent examples of habitats representative of the UK, such as submerged rocky reefs, deepwater estuaries, sand banks and gravel patches.

The coastal waters of the south-west have some of the richest populations of fish in British waters, with 215 recorded species of which 50 are commercially landed.

To find out about the species and habitats that will be protected by Marine Conservation Zones visit Natural England's features catalogue.

To see where different species and habitats occur visit the national MCZ project Interactive Map.

Latest News

Final Recommendations Report click for more

Final Recommendations Summary Report click for more

Final Steering Group Meeting Report Available click for more

Kids in a Boat
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Sea Grass
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