Brittlestar bed (Credit Polly Whyte / earthinfocus)
This recommended MCZ also includes the Pisces Reef Complex Special Area of Conservation due to the uniqueness of the habitat and the diversity of creatures found here.
This MCZ includes the Pisces Reef Complex!
Slieve na Griddle recommended MCZ lies between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and surrounds the Pisces Reef Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC): a series of reefs made up of protruding rocky mounds rising from 15-35m from the seafloor. The habitat creates a solid base with nooks and crannies that allow many species to live within its protection. Lampshells, sea squirts, sea mats, fern-like hydroids and fish take advantage of this, and the mounds are also a resting and feeding place for passing species of fish and marine mammals.
Between the rocky mounds lies a plateau of mud and sediment, a sheltered area for Dublin Bay prawns, brittlestars and other species to settle in the relative protection of the outcrops. This combination of the muddy areas of the MCZ and the rocky mounds of the SAC makes the area very unique - home to a wide diversity of creatures.
Special features of Slieve na Griddle:
- Rocky reefs create a solid habitat for species such as lampshells and sea squirts to attach to, as well as nooks and crannies for fish to shelter and feed
- Sheltered muddy habitats are ideal for commercially important Dublin Bay prawns (Nephrops) to make their burrows
- Numerous sea birds forage in this area including gannets, herring gulls, kittiwake and Manx shearwater
Protection of Slieve na Griddle would:
- Safeguard an area of high biodiversity which is particularly vulnerable to damage from trawling
- Allow commercial fish species, which spawn in this area, and Dublin Bay prawn populations to recover - potentially benefitting fisheries outside the rMCZ area due to spill over into the surrounding area
This Marine Conservation Zone has not been included in the second tranche under consultation
Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee have identified this site as being at high risk of damage and degradation due to the presence of highly sensitive features within the site which are very vulnerable to degradation and damage. Furthermore, the mud habitats found here are not protected anywhere else in the Irish Sea.
We need you to help ensure that this site is included in tranche 3. Become a Friend of this site to stay up-to-date with The Wildlife Trusts' campaign to see how you can help.
Other nearby MCZs
Slieve Na Griddle 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