Goodwin Sands recommended Marine Conservation Zone

Status: Potential T3 site

Ray (Credit Nick Shemmans) Ray (Credit Nick Shemmans)

Rays are among the many fish that swim around the Goodwin Sands.

Massive areas of gently rolling sandbanks are found here.Become a Friend of this MCZ

The famous Goodwin Sands that have sheltered many a ship from the ravages of storms and rough seas comprise of massive areas of gently rolling sandbanks. The sandbanks are home to a diversity of marine life which attracts predatory fish. These in turn encourage grey and common seals which forage around the banks. The seals haul out to rest when the banks are exposed at low tide and common seals can even give birth to their pups here.

Beds of blue mussels are mixed in with the sandy tubes of thousands of tiny ross worms. Together these form a habitat structure which provides shelter and food for other animals such as crabs, anemones, snails and fish.

Thornback rays lay their ‘mermaid purse’ egg cases around the Goodwin Sands, and the area is also important for many other fish and for foraging birds.

If designated, this site would provide protection for very important foraging grounds for seabirds and nursery grounds for commercially important fish species including cod, sandeels and plaice. It is also one of two primary seal haul out sites in the south east of England. Kent Wildlife Trust has Seasearch data backed up by photographs and video evidence of the presence of two important features in the site: blue mussel beds and rossworm reefs. This video can be viewed on this site.

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Other nearby sites

Thanet Coast

Dover to Deal

Offshore Foreland

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




FilenameFile size
Goodwin Sands Factsheet.pdf2.65 MB