Rocky reef (Credit Mark Thomas)
The North Sea hosts some spectacular rocky reefs supporting carpets of attaching marine wildlife.
Prickly sea urchin are slow moving, grazing on a feast of seaweed salad.
Coquet to St Mary's stretches for 198.75km2 along the Northumberland coastline and includes both Coquet Island, important for breeding and foraging seabirds and grey seals, alongside St Mary's Island, important for its rocky reefs and crustaceans.
The seafloor, which reaches 30 metres in depth, consists of a mosaic of habitats. These include three different rocky habitats, interspersed with mixed sediments, unique shoreline underboulder communities and estuarine rocky habitats. All of these support thousands of seabirds and marine mammals, including 90% of the UK Roseate tern population, harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, and species of whale. This area is a real gem.
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 provides the largest area of high energy infralittoral rock out of any site recommended by stakeholders and the second largest area of moderate energy infralittoral rock.
We need you to help ensure that this site is designated next year. Become a Friend of this site to stay up-to-date with The Wildlife Trusts' campaign to see how you can help.
Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012