Explore the wildlife-rich waters of Bembridge recommended Marine Conservation Zone, one of 41 special places at sea that need your help!

Bembridge recommended Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is an incredible area of sea, stretching out from the east coast of the Isle of Wight. Hosting a greater number of species and habitats eligible for protection than any other site, Bembridge is the biodiversity jewel of the South Coast.

One of only two sites in the South East where both species of UK seahorse have been found, Bembridge is also a national stronghold of the rare and beautiful peacock's tail seaweed. Taking the shape of a curved fan, this yellowish seaweed is at the northern limit of its range here, preferring the warmer waters of the Mediterranean. 

The seabed here is a real mix of habitats: rocky ledges, seagrass meadows and plains of mud. The north of the site is dominated by mud and is one of very few places in the region where spoonworms can be found. These bizarre creatures have brains in their long tongues, which extend out of their seabed burrows in search of food!

The kaleidoscope stalked jellyfish has also been found here: one of only two locations in the region which supports this beautiful and delicate species. Unlike a normal jellyfish, these relatives of corals and anemones spend their whole life attached to the seabed, usually to strands of seaweed or seagrass. 

Bembridge is the only known site in the region where maerl can be found. This fragile, calcareous, red seaweed builds living reefs that resemble a knotted mass of twigs and provide shelter for myriad other species.

Common hermit crab on maerl

Common hermit crab on maerl ©Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

This site, like many of the others we believe should be designated as MCZs, has been identified as being at high risk of damage and degradation by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, due to the presence of sensitive habitats and species within the site. It’s vital that this site is protected as soon as possible.

We have until the 20th of July to respond to the Government's consultation on creating 41 new Marine Conservation Zones. You can add your voice to our #WaveOfSupport and help us call for more protection for our seas.

Common sunstar on maerl

Common sunstar on maerl ©Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Get Involved

Help protect special areas at sea

Join our Wave of Support and help secure Bembridge and 40 other new Marine Conservation Zones, each protecting a special area of our seas and the wildlife found there.

Add your Wave of Support