The Canyons Marine Conservation Zone

Status: protected


Risso's dolphin (Credit Niki Clear)Risso's dolphin (Credit Niki Clear)

As its name suggests, the area includes two deep-water canyons, making this a more complex seabed than many other sites.

The area contains the only record of living cold water coral reefs in English waters.

This site has been designated a Marine Conservation Zone in 2013 in order to protect the deep sea bed and cold-water coral reefs found within the site.

The Canyons is located about 330km south-west of Land’s End. The site is situated on the continental shelf break, with depths ranging from 200m in the east of the site to 2000m in the west.

Along the edge of the continental shelf, at around 130 - 350m, there are large numbers of anemones, with hermit crabs dominating coarse grounds in shallower waters.

The shape of the seabed leads to an upwelling of  nutrient-rich water, making the seas above highly productive, with higher than average sightings of seabirds and cetaceans.

Other nearby sites

South-West Deeps (West)

Location map

Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and
contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012