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, following the passing of the Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009). 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 sites that Government have, or are in the process of, creating in order to make up this network. Click on the MCZs to find out more about them.

Map of current and proposed Marine Conservation Zones in English Waters

The process of setting up Marine Conservation Zones so far

Last November, 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 February 2014, Defra announced their list of candidate sites for the second round. These 37 sites (the amber sites on our map) are those that they are considering consulting on for setting up in 2015.

Defra now plan to gather more information about these sites before consulting on a final list at the beginning of 2015.

How you can help

We need your support to ensure that all these 37 sites are consulted on by Government and ultimately are set up as new Marine Conservation Zones next year.

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.

Children can help too by sending the Prime Minister David Cameron MP a starfish pledge.

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