Greater pipefish (Credit Jason Armstrong)
Here, greater pipefish, close cousins to the seahorses, come to feed in the shallow water.
Seals use these waters to forage for food, and haul out on Horse Sands to rest at low tide.
Between the north Kent coast and the Isle of Sheppey is an area well known for the birds which come to feed on the abundance of life in and on the rich muddy seabed. Seals also use these waters to forage for food, and haul out on Horse Sands to rest at low tide.
The Swale forms an important spawning and nursery area for several species of fish, which can find shelter in the seagrass and mussel beds in addition to the muddy gravel. Here, greater pipefish, close cousins to the seahorses, come to feed in the shallow water.
Off Whitstable, the famous shingle spit known as‘The Street’ is surrounded by areas of colourful red, green and brown seaweeds and beds of peacock worms with their beautiful whorls of tentacles.
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs.
Defra have indicated that this site is now under consideration for tranche two and will potentially be included in the formal consultation at the beginning of 2015. Defra will now working to verify the evidence base for this site and will be looking to engage with stakeholders on both a local and national level to refine information about the site. This site is important as it contains some of the best examples of exposed London Clay at several locations within the site as well as rare algal communities on shingle and important fish nursery and spawning grounds. There are also indications that there is good scope for shellfish recovery within the site if it is protected.
This site has been identified as being at risk of damage and degradation by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee due to the presence of sensitive features within the site.
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Dive video of this site
Other nearby sites:
The Swale Estuary 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