Beachy Head East recommended Marine Conservation Zone

Status: On hold

Male cuckoo wrasse (Credit Paul Naylor)Male cuckoo wrasse (Credit Paul Naylor)

Possibly one of the best regional examples of mussel beds is found here.

Rocky ridges at The Pound, near Eastbourne run roughly in line with the cliffs creating pools and lagoons at low tide. These are full of seaweed and other marine species.

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This area is characterised by Sovereign Shoals, an extensive wildlife-rich sandstone reef with outcrops of chalk. Marine life includes a variety of sponges, anemones, sea squirts, erect bryozoans and starfish. Soft corals colonise the underside of slab surfaces together with tube worms.

Animal ‘reefs’, known as biogenic reefs, are made out of consolidated tubes of ross worms or mussels. Possibly one of the best regional examples of mussel beds is found here. These structures provide homes for a diversity of marine life which would otherwise not be present on the seafloor. 

Fish include short-snouted seahorses, cuckoo wrasse and large numbers of bib and poor cod. This is one of the most important nursery areas within 0.25nm of shore for plaice and Dover sole. Black-headed gulls, black-legged kittiwakes and common terns all come here to feed. 

StatusThis recommended Marine Conservation Zone is ON HOLD at the moment as Defra has indicated that there is not enough evidence to support designation.


We need you to urge Defra to use data gathered as soon as possible and to consider this site as a high and urgent priority for designation in the next tranche.

 

 

 

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This site is on hold at the moment. Defra has indicated that although there is enough evidence to support designation of the site for nine of the habitats or species recommended by stakeholders, they require additional evidence for four of the habitats or species. Defra has also raised concerns regarding the socio-economic costs of designating the site and so the site is on hold whilst additional data is gathered.

This site was originally proposed by the local fishing community who use static fishing gear, seeking to protect the reef habitats on which their fishery depends from damage from mobile fishing. This site contains some of the best examples of blue mussel beds and coastal chalk habitat in the region and Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee has indentified the site as being at high risk of damage and degradation due to the presence of sensitive habitats or species within the site. It contains one of Plantlife’s Important Plant Areas for the huge diversity of algae found in The Pound. Defra also commissioned additional survey work of this site in 2012- these results have not been taken into account in this consultation.

We need you to urge Defra to use this data as soon as possible and to consider this site as a high and urgent priority for designation in the next tranche. The site should be protected from additional damage and degradation in the meantime.


Dive video of this site

Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012

 

Other nearby MCZs

Beachy Head West

Inner Bank

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