East Meridian recommended Marine Conservation Zone

Status: On hold

Cuttlefish by reef (Credit Paul Naylor)Cuttlefish by reef (Credit Paul Naylor)

Rocky and gravelly areas provide rich hunting grounds, attracting the master of disguise - cuttlefish.

Ross worm reef is present here: a ‘living reef’ formed by aggregations of this worm’s sandy casts.


Become a Friend of this MCZ

Directly south of Beachy Head, this recommended MCZ lies in deeper waters farther offshore and includes a rich rocky habitat overlain with a thin veneer of sands or mixed sediments. The area encompasses the ancient English Channel outburst flood feature, formed when a huge glacial lake in the North Sea burst through the Diver Straits Isthmus which contained it, thereby separating England from mainland Europe.

Diverse marine life is supported in this region from beautiful anemone and sponge meadows to unusual sea squirts, hydroids and even corals! Ross worm reef is also present: a ‘living reef’ formed by aggregations of this worm’s sandy tubes which provides an excellent habitat for other creatures to colonise. Rocky and gravelly areas are also rich hunting grounds, attracting the masters of disguise - cuttlefish.

StatusThis eastern half of this recommended Marine Conservation Zone is on hold at the moment; the western half of the site has been removed from the network by Defra.

We need you to urge Defra to reconsider the removal of the western side of this site from the network:



Have your say

Defra has indicated that they require additional evidence for all habitats and species recommended for protection by stakeholders and due to limited support for the site by some stakeholders, the western half should be removed from the network, leaving just the eastern half to be considered in a future tranche.

The whole site was proposed for the rich diversity of habitat types it contains, making an important contribution to the network. This site has 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 vulnerable features.

We need you to urge Defra to reconsider the removal of the western side of this site from the network and to commit to gathering additional evidence needed so the whole site can be considered for designation in a future tranche as a high and urgent priority. The site should be protected from damage in the meantime.

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 East

Beachy Head East West


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