Marine Conservation Zones

Marine Conservation Zones© Paul Naylor

We are all dependent on the health of our sea, from the food we eat to the climate we inhabit.

A long history of unsustainable exploitation has left our marine habitats and wildlife on the edge of collapse and in desperate need of protection.

127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) were recommended to the government in 2011 from all around England, including 31 in the southeast.

We have never before, and may never again have such an opportunity to safeguard the remnants of our, once rich, marine habitats and wildlife

The recommended MCZs in the seas around the southeast of England feature an enormous range of special habitats and species. Such as the chalk we see around Beachy Head, Sussex, which extends out into the sea as a wave-cut chalk platform. The gullies and ledges in this area are home to fascinating array of marine life including Ross coral, colourful sponges and anemones. Bembridge, Hampshire, hosts an exceptional diversity of important habitats and species including stalked jellyfish and both native species of seahorse.

The Wildlife Trusts keenly contributed to this process and it is our view that these Marine Conservation Zones, when combined in a network with European Marine Sites and protected sites from the other devolved countries, would provide effective and meaningful protection for our marine environment.

In 2013 the govenment consulted the public on the potential designation of only 31 of the 127 on the stakeholders’ list. Although they stated that other zones may be created in the future, no definitive timetable was released for this.

The Government have recently released the results of this consultation, designating 27 of the 31 put forward in the consultation.

The Wildlife Trusts submitted a comprehensive response to the consultation, submitting additional evidence for those sites that the government felt were lacking data and calling for rapid designation of the first tranche of sites and an ambitious timetable for designation of future tranches.

We were pleased to see the commitment to two further tranches of MCZs and a timetable for their delivery.


Become a Friend of Marine Conservation Zones in English Seas

Use the link below to join our campaign for Marine Conservation Zones in the seas around England.