Holderness Offshore

Explore the wildlife of Holderness Offshore, one of 41 special areas of the sea we want to see protected as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).

Today, much of the seabed in the North Sea is damaged – degraded by decades of industrial fishing and aggregate dredging. Some MCZs are already designated to protect the mixed and coarse sediments of the seabed, but more are desperately needed.

One site that would help protect the seabed is Holderness Offshore, a recommended MCZ off the Yorkshire Coast. At first glance, the seafloor habitat found here can appear like a desert, but look closely and you'll see that it's full of wildlife.

Worms and bivalves (animals with paired, hinged shells) burrow into the seabed, alongside the silvery sand eels that are a favourite food of seabirds like puffins. Flatfish are hard to spot, camouflaged against the seafloor, but the large edible crabs and common lobsters are much more obvious.

Both the lobsters and crabs are an important part of the local economy, supporting a low-impact pot fishery.

With so much life on the seabed, there's plenty of action in the waters above it. Many ocean giants have been seen feeding here, including harbour porpoises, minke whales and even fin whales - the second largest creature on Earth! 

Seabirds arrive from miles around to feed, including puffins, fulmars and gannets, which plunge into the water at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour! They have special air sacs that help cushion their head and neck, preventing injuries as they hit the water. 

Gannet diving, The Wildlife Trusts

Gannet ©Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Holderness Offshore, like many of the other sites we believe should be designated as MCZs, has been identified by the Government’s own Scientists as at risk of damage and degradation. It’s vital that this site is protected as soon as possible.

Puffin with sand eels

Puffin with sand eels ©Richard Steel/2020VISION

Get Involved

Help protect special areas at sea

Join our Wave of Support and help secure Holderness Offshore 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