Anemones, sponges and coral (Credit Ed Smith)
At Utopia a rocky reef rises from the surrounding seabed to create a beautiful, intricate and diverse communities of corals, sponges and anemones.
Over 15 species of sponge have been recorded here with many more yet to be identified.
In Utopia, rocky reef and boulder outcrops create a habitat for sponges and corals that would otherwise not exist here.
Over 15 species of sponge have been recorded with many more yet to be identified. Corals, such as dead man’s fingers, and white striped anemones are also common within this area. Utopia has been recommended as an MCZ on the grounds that it hosts one of only two regional examples of these fragile sponge, coral and anemone communities.
This site was actually named after the tope shark as it partly makes up an important pupping ground for this UK species.
The surrounding seabed is largely covered in deep deposits of sand and gravel. Utopia is close to an aggregate extraction area, where the sand and gravel is dredged for use in the construction industry.
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs
If designated, this site would provide protection for the fragile coral and sponge communities found here, alongside the surrounding sediments, all of which provide important habtiats for a range of species.
We need you to help ensure that this site is designated. Show your support for this site by responding to the current consultation: www.wildlifetrusts.org/savemczs.
Dive video of this site
Other nearby MCZs
Utopia 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