Red mullet (Credit Paul Naylor)
Western Channel is located 54km south-east of Lizard Peninsula and its southern boundary follows the UK continental shelf limit.
Short-beaked common dolphins have been observed feeding here.
A mosaic of habitats are included within this recommended MCZ, including coarse sediment, mixed sediment and moderate energy rock. These habitats support many benthic species, animals that live on the seafloor such as polychaete worms, bivalve molluscs and echinoderms.
Productive frontal systems are found in the Western Channel. These frontal systems carry an abundance of fresh food from cooler deeper waters into the sunlit surface waters where plankton can flourish. This feature acts as a catalyst for marine life and brings together many marine animals to feed including seabirds and cetaceans, such as the short-beaked common dolphin.
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 has been identified as being at risk by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee due to the pressure of features at a high risk of damage and deterioration from human activities. If designated, Western Channel would contribute the largest protected area of subtidal mixed sediment and the second largest area of coarse sediment within the region.
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Other nearby sites:
Western Channel 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