Site Overview

The site is a Marine Conservation Zone designated under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 in January 2016 in recognition of its nationally important tidal and sub-tidal habitats.


Octopus photographed near St Mary’s Island (Photo: Paula Lightfoot)


Download an infographic about this marine protected area here

Boundary Map and available GIS data

The boundary map for this site can be downloaded the MAGIC interactive website HERE

Boundary maps of all English marine protected areas can be downloaded from Natural England at this link

Additional spatial data

The following spatial datasets may also be relevant to this site:

Additional spatial information, including the location of marine priority habitats, can be viewed and downloaded at the MAGIC website

Download an infographic about this MPA HERE

Conservation Objectives

The site’s conservation objectives apply to the Marine Conservation Zone and the individual species and/or habitat for which the site has been designated.

The conservation objective for the MCZ is that the protected habitats:

  • Are maintained in favourable condition if they are already in favourable condition
  • Be brought into favourable condition if they are not already in favourable condition

For each protected feature, favourable condition means that, within the MCZ:

  1. Its extent is stable or increasing
  2. Its structure and functions, its quality, and the composition of its characteristic biological communities (including diversity and abundance of species forming part or inhabiting the habitat) are sufficient to ensure that its condition remains healthy and does not deteriorate.

Any temporary reduction of numbers of a species is to be disregarded if the population is sufficiently thriving and resilient to enable its recovery.

Any alteration to a feature brought about entirely by natural processes is to be disregarded when determining whether a protected feature is in favourable condition.

Conservation advice has been published by Natural England and should be referred to.  This gives guidance on how to further the conservation objectives for the site, identifies the activities that are capable of affecting the qualifying features and the processes which the qualifying features are dependent upon.

Natural England have also produced supplementary guidance on the conservation objectives for the site which aim to describe the range of ecological attributes that are most likely to contribute to a site’s overall integrity.

Organisations with responsibility for MPA