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
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.
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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