Plumose anemones (Credit Mark Thomas)
Rocky reefs are home to a wealth of wildlife found hidden in cracks and crevices and encrusting all available surfaces.
Kelp and tall plumose anemones reach up into the water, waving as currents pass.
Runswick Bay, located north-west of Whitby, boasts a highly productive seabed. The MCZ is recommended for 7 out of the 12 different seafloor habitats found here, including rock, sediment and gravel.
Shallow rocky areas here are dominated by kelps and red seaweeds whereas deeper areas are encrusted in a living faunal turf of sponges, sea squirts, sea urchins and starfish. Interspersed with sand and gravel, this area is also important for burrowing creatures such as worms.
Runswick Bay also provides spawning and nursery grounds for many fish, including herring, sprat, cod, whiting and plaice. Harbour porpoises are regularly recorded here alongside foraging seabirds, such as kittiwakes.
This site was proposed for a number of features including: (1) its rocky shore, which is exposed to very strong waves and currents – prime habitat for mussels, limpets and barnacles; (2) subtidal rocks, which are dominated by large kelps, seaweeds, worms, crabs and sea snails; (3) deeper water rocks which support a number of commercially important species of lobster and crab; and (4) the ocean quahog – a type of clam that lives for over a hundred years!
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs
If designated, this site would provide protection for the second largest area of high energy infralittoral rock in the region.
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Runswick Bay recommended MCZ is located in the map below.
Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012
Other nearby potential MCZs