Common heart urchin (Credit Paul Naylor)
Vulnerable to disturbance, tube worms, slender sea pens, heart urchins, mud shrimp and the Dublin Bay prawn all live with the seabed sediments.
South Rigg contains the only known breeding population of ocean quahog clams in the Irish Sea.
Located between the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, South Rigg is extremely important due to the presence of the Irish Sea Mounds. These rocky outcrops on the sea floor provide a solid base for creatures to settle. There is a myriad of species that call this area home including anemones, brittlestars, sea firs and sea mats, tube worms, slender sea pens, heart urchins, mud shrimps and Dublin Bay prawns.
The world's longest lived animals, ocean quahogs (a type of clam), also live here. Did you know ocean quahogs can live for over 500 years and are used in scientific studies on climate change. They are also an important food source for cod.
Special features of South Rigg:
- The complex of rockyoutcrops on the seafloor create a home for anemones, sea firs and sea mats
- Muddy habitats support huge biodiversity, from burrowing sea urchins and sea pens to commercially important Dublin Bay prawns
- Live juveniles of the ocean quahog have been recorded here, making it the only known breeding population in the Irish Sea area
- Basking sharks and foraging sea birds have been recorded in the area
Protection of South Rigg would:
- Preserve a rare habitat type in the Irish Sea; the rocky seabed and muddy habitats
- Safeguard the ocean quahog population, allowing them to breed and recover without disturbance from trawling
- Ensure connectivity between protected habitats in the Irish Sea
This Marine Conservation Zone has not been included in the second tranche under consultation
The site is particularly important due to the presence of the ocean quahog, which is not protected anywhere else in the Irish Sea.
Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee have also identified this site as being at risk of damage and degradation, in particular to the mud habitats found within the site.
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
South Rigg 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