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Marine Conservation Zones

Lightbulb seasquirt, Polly Whyte/earthinfocusLightbulb seasquirt, Polly Whyte/earthinfocus

23 new Marine Conservation Zones were announced by the Government in January 2015

Second phase

A second phase of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been designated this January. This historic move illustrates a renewed impetus to protect the seas around our shores. It follows on from the announcement of 27 MCZs in 2013 and is the second of three phases promised by the Government in order to fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

No matter how inland you are based, the oceans affect us all.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, despite being based inland, are part of the North Sea Wildlife Trust and help to raise awareness of three Marine Conservation Zones off the East Coast, known as Fulmar, Holderness Inshore and Farness East. 

The 23 new MCZs are special places and include cold water coral reefs, forests of sea fans, canyons and sandbanks, and an astonishingly varied range of submerged landscapes which support the stunning diversity of marine life found in the UK. They include Land’s End, one of the South-West’s most recognised areas and renowned for its rugged coastline, and the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds in the North Sea, thought to be Europe’s largest chalk reef. All will contribute towards a network of areas which is urgently needed to ensure a healthy future for our seas.

UK seas have the potential to be full of incredible life and colour but continued destruction has reduced them to a shadow of their former selves.

Marine Conservation Zones are a type of protected area at sea designated for habitats and species of national importance, including fragile seahorses, rare native oysters and even cold water coral reefs. Such protected areas are a tried and tested means of giving vulnerable species the time and space to recover.

The list of Marine Conservation Zones was drawn-up by sea-users, scientists and conservationists, with Government committing to designating the sites in three waves or tranches. The Wildlife Trusts, actively involved in every step of the process, are buoyed by the achievement of another important milestone on the road to better protected seas. We are calling for anyone interested in protecting our seas to join more than 8,000 other passionate supporters and become a Friend of MCZs.

1st Phase

In November 2013 Defra designated 27 Marine Conservation Zones, the first step towards the creation of an ecologically coherent network which is vital to ensure the healthy future of our seas.

You can help by becoming a Friend of Marine Conservation Zones.