Marine Conservation Zones are a type of protected area at sea where human activity is restricted to protect wildlife & habitats

The Government is creating Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the seas around England. These ‘zones’ will allow sustainable use of the sea whilst protecting a range of species and habitats found in English waters from damaging activity. The interactive map below shows the the special places at sea that have been designated or are in the process of being created in order to make up a network of protected areas. Click on the MCZs to find out more about them.

Marine Conservation Zones - the story so far

In November 2013, the Government announced the designation of 27 sites making up the first round of Marine Conservation Zones in English seas. This followed a consultation and two years of stakeholder negotiations (involving fishermen, conservationists, divers, shipping companies and other sea users) which led to recommendations for a network of protected sites at sea - of which 27 were created last year (the green sites on our map).

This was an important first step. But these 27 sites alone are not enough to create the network of protected areas that our seas really need to recover from past damage and declines. In 2013 Defra announced an aim to set up additional two rounds of MCZs in order to complete this network.

In January 2015, Defra announced the consultation into a further 23 potential sites for designation (the amber sites on our map). This consultation closed on the 24th April and we are expecting Defra to annouce their next steps for these sites by the start of 2016. You can find out more about those sites under consultation by clicking on the links in the table below:

1. Coquet to St Mary’s 2. Farnes East             
3. Fulmar 4. Runswick Bay
5. Holderness Inshore 6. Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds
7. The Swale Estuary 8. Dover to Deal
9. Dover to Folkestone 10. Offshore Brighton
11. Offshore Overfalls 12. Utopia
13. The Needles 14. Western Channel
15. Mounts Bay 16. Lands End
17. North-West of Jones Bank 18. Greater Haig Fras
19. Newquay and The Gannel 20. Hartland Point to Tintagel
21. Bideford to Foreland Point 22. West of Walney
23. Allonby Bay  

















Defra is also working on identfying those sites needed to complete the network in tranche 3. There is much work to be done and we will be carrying our survey work throughout the summer to help build the evidence base for tranche 3.

You can help

Join our campaign and become a Friend of Marine Conservation Zones.

We’ll keep you updated with regular emails about the campaign to secure Marine Conservation Zones in the seas around England.

Ocean Giants

We are calling for our Ocean Giants to be protected as part of our ecologically coherent network. In September 2015 we handed 10,109 signatures to the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, calling for MPAs for our marine megafauna. Find out more here.


The Marine Charter

Alongside other environmental charities, The Wildlife Trusts are promoting the Marine Charter. The aim of this Charter is to gather MP support for a network of Marine Protected Areas around the UK, and to show support for the designation of Marine Conservation Zones as part of this process.

Find out more about the Charter and which MPs have signed here