Rocky reef (Credit Mark Thomas)
Diverse habitats support a whole wealth of species such as corals, sea squirts, anemones and bryozoans.
Prickly sea urchin are slow moving, grazing on a feast of seaweed salad.
Coquet to St Mary’s recommended MCZ stretches from the high water mark down to depths of 30 metres covering an area nearly 200km2, and is made up of a mosaic of different habitats, ranging from important mud, peat and clay and sand to both high and low energy rocky reefs and diverse under boulder communities.
The under boulders species thrive in the in the damp shaded areas created, for plants this includes different species of sponge, turfs of encrusting pink coralline seaweed and bryozoan like sea mats and horn wrack. These in turn provide excellent places for crustaceans like squat lobsters, porcelain and hermit crabs as well as edible crabs and lobsters to hide away in all the little crevices. In amongst all the plants you will find, sea urchin grazing on the wide variety of seaweed, different species of brittlestar clinging on to the underside of rocks, sea slugs feeding on sponges and Beadlet, strawberry and Dahlia anemones. The first ever record of the Arctic cushion star on the English coast was found within the site!
Marine mammals are regular visitors to this site, benefiting from the diverse habitats; you can watch harbour porpoise, seals, white-beaked dolphins and even some species of whale. The site is also well known for its seabirds too, Coquet Island is home to several thousand seabirds, and is particularly known for the puffins, and terns including sandwich, Artic and common tern, which come to the island to breed. Not only that but Coquet is home to 90% of the UK’s Roseate tern population.
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs
The government has recommended 15 habitats to be included in the designation, helping to fill gaps in a protected network within the North Sea. 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. Impact assessments show that designating this site as a Marine Conservation Zone is not likely to affect fishing, coastal developments and shipping.
We need you to help ensure that this site is designated. Show your support for this site by responding to the current consultation: www.wildlifetrusts.org/savemczs.
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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