Marine Conservation Zones - 1st tranche designated

Twenty seven new Marine Conservation Zones were created in English waters on 21 November 2013. This is the first tranche of MCZ designations following the completion of the four regional MCZ projects, which recommended a network of 127 sites.  31 out of the 127 were considered in this tranche and all three proposed Dorset sites were designated: Poole Rocks MCZ, Chesil Beach & Stennis Ledges MCZ and South Dorset MCZ

Three other recommended Dorset sites - Studland Bay, South of Portland and Broad Bench to Kimmeridge - may be considered in one of two further planned tranches of designation and the Government have indicated that they will also consider other possible sites for designation.

A Marine Conservation Zone is a new type of marine protected area created under the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act.  MCZs can be designated in English or Welsh water and are intended to complement other protected areas to create a network of sites covering the full range of marine habitats and features around the country.

If you would like to do more for our marine wildlife, you can sign up to become a MCZ Friend to champion the network of Marine Conservation Zones being created around England. You will be joining other marine life champions around the country who feel passionately about protecting the sea and helping it recover to healthy Living Seas.


Marine Protected Area is the generic term for areas of the sea where wildlife has some form of protection from damage and disturbance. There are a number of different types of MPA in England which together will form a network around the country where the most damaging activities will be managed or restricted to enable wildlife to recover from long-term decline.  Click on the MPAs below to find out more:

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)

Click for more information on other types of MPA

Arrow Take action today - become an MCZ Friend





Kelp and seaweeds meadow by Peter Tinsley

Kelp and seaweeds meadow by Peter Tinsley

Large ross coral colony by Peter Tinsley

Large ross coral colony by Peter Tinsley

Thongweed, snakelocks, ballan by Paul Naylor

Thongweed, snakelocks & ballan wrasse
by Paul Naylor

Marine Conservation Zones in Dorset

Seabed Imagery © Dorset Wildlife Trust © OpenStreetMap contributors
Contains Maritime and Coastguard Agency data © Crown copyright

Click on the areas above to find out more about individual Marine Conservation Zones in Dorset

The map above shows the Marine Conservation Zones designated in 2013 which aim to protect a range of features, from individual species to large areas of broad habitat.

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