Studland Bay Recommended Marine Conservation Zone

Status: Potential T3 site

Greater pipefish (Credit Julie Hatcher)Greater pipefish (Credit Julie Hatcher)

A beautiful greater pipefish at home within the seagrass.

The bay is home to breeding populations of both British seahorses.

Studland Bay recommended MCZ runs from the iconic Old Harry Rocks to the northern tip of Studland Bay.

Extensive and dense seagrass meadows in the sheltered south of the bay are home to breeding populations of both British seahorses as well as pipefishes, wrasses and juveniles of commercial species such as bass, bream and flatfish. The endangered undulate ray also appears to be using this area as a nursery ground.

In the wider bay, shallow-water, sandy plains support a range of shellfish, including the native oyster, the Chinese-hat shell, hermit crabs and the masked crab. Within the sand live many species of burrowing bivalves and worms such as lugworms and the sandmason worm.

Studland Bay is an important site as it represents the only known breeding site for long-snouted seahorse in the UK, the only site proposed to protect undulate ray in the region and is important for the seagrass beds that are found within the site. It has also been identified as being at risk by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, with the seagrass beds and the short snouted seahorse identified as being most at risk.


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Other nearby sites:

Poole Rocks

Location map

Studland 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


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Studland Bay Factsheet.pdf1.93 MB