Six sites have been recommended for possible designation. These range from Portland Deep to West of Wight Barfleur and are the light green areas in the map below. (Refresh the page to see underlying sites).
Why Have These Sites Been Recommended?
This round of designation is about completing the network of MPAs around England. The Dorset contribution includes sites recommended back in 2013, but not yet designated; additional sites needed to cover seabed habitats that were under-represented and sites recommended for highly mobile species (nesting black bream).
This is fantastic news for the marine environment! We want to ensure that more species and habitats are protected and represented throughout the English network of MCZs. Up until now there have been gaps in this network for particular sediment types. The six Dorset recommended sites contribute to filling these gaps and include species and habitats that deserve increased protection from the potential of damaging activities. Read more about the specific sites below.
Benefits of MCZs
Protected sites not only recover or maintain the features for which they are designated but also benefit us! If managed correctly, these sites can be the source of some wonderful and enriching experiences; diving, snorkelling and other recreational sports. Research has shown these activities to have positive benefits on health and wellbeing. In addition, the revenue from these activities and tourism helps to enhance the local economy. However, the benefits are not only recreational; Defra state that MCZs are expected to bring significant benefits to marine biodiversity and productivity, environmental resilience, research and education and climate regulation.
The site information below has been taken from the Defra website:
Location: 20 km south of Poole Harbour (offshore)
Designation will protect: subtidal coarse and mixed sediments.
Associated species: corals, sponges, anemones, urchins, starfish, sea firs, sea mats and tube worms.
Location: Ringstead to Swanage Bay (inshore)
Depth: 60m (east of St. Albans Ledge)
Designation will protect: Black seabream (nesting), stalked jellyfish, peacock's tail, maerl beds, high energy and moderate energy intertidal rock, intertidal and subtidal coarse sediment, subtidal mixed sediment.
Associated species: sponges, bryozoans, hydroids, barnacles, algae, anemones, sea cucumbers, tube worms, fish. This may also be a foraging area for oystercatchers.
Location: Poole Bay - just east of Poole Rocks MCZ (inshore).
Designation will protect: Black seabream (nesting)
Location: south west of Portland Bill (inshore)
Designation will protect: Portland Deep geological feature, subtidal sand, high energy and moderate energy circalittoral rock, subtidal coarse and mixed sediments.
Associated species: corals, anemones, bryozoans, blue mussels, urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, crustaceans.
Location: Shell Bay to Old Harry (inshore)
Depth: up to 5m
Designation will protect : Spiny seahorse, seagrass beds, intertidal and subtidal coarse sediment.
Associated species: short-snouted seahorse, pipefish, juvenile commercial fish species (bass, bream, flatfish), algae, crustaceans, urchins and starfish.
(Read our vision for Studland Bay here).
Location: English Channel (offshore)
Designation will protect: Subtidal coarse and mixed sediments.
Associated species: anemones, starfish, worms, bivalves.
Each and every stakeholder has the opportunity to comment on this consultation which can be seen here on the Defra website.
Read more about Marine Protected Areas in Dorset here.