Short-snouted seahorse (Credit Paul Naylor)
Hosting a greater number of habitats and species eligible for protection than any other site, this area is the biodiversity jewel of the South-East.
Naturally exposed reef hosts assemblages of sponges, anemones and corals.
The area is a national stronghold of the peacock’s tail seaweed and one of only two sites in the South East where both species of seahorse have been found.
The kaleidoscope stalked jellyfish has also been found here: one of only two locations in the region which supports this beautiful and delicate species.
Bembridge is the only known regional location of maerl. This fragile, calcareous, red seaweed resembles a knotted mass of twigs and provides lots of shelter for other species.
Mud dominates in the north and is home to one of very few regional examples of spoon worms. These bizarre creatures have brains in their long tongues, which extend out of the burrows in search of food.
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs.
Defra have indicated that this site is now under consideration for tranche two and will potentially be included in the formal consultation at the beginning of 2015. Defra will now working to verify the evidence base for this site and will be looking to engage with stakeholders on both a local and national level to refine information about the site.
This site is the only one put forward in the region for protection of maerl beds and is only one of two sites put forward in the region to protect the kaleidoscope stalked jellyfish and the long snouted seahorse. It is also considered to contain the most important and extensive population of peacock's tail seaweed in the country.
The site has also been identified as being at high risk of damage and degradation by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee due to the presence of sensitive habitats and species within the site.
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Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012
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