Marine Conservation Zones


Marine Conservation Zones

Lion's mane jellyfish by Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Discover why we're calling on the Government to create 41 new Marine Conservation Zones

The UK has a long and beautiful coastline: miles of beaches, cliffs and mudflats bordering seas full of weird and wonderful creatures. But despite our close connection to the sea and the fact that it’s home to half of all our wildlife, we have been neglecting it.

Until recently, we had no way of protecting nationally important marine sites in England and Wales, and only 0.001% of our seabed was protected. That all changed in 2009, when the Marine and Coastal Access Act was passed, paving the way for a new type of protected area in English seas – Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).

The first 27 were created in 2013, with another 23 added in 2016, taking the current total to 50. This is a great start, but to truly look after our seas we need a complete network of protected areas around the UK, covering examples of every kind of habitat and threatened species.

The Government is currently consulting on a third wave of MCZs. Thank you to everyone who signed petitions, wrote to their MP, wrote to Theresa May and who helped us campaign for better marine protections.

Our work

Living Seas North West

Our Living Seas North West project is standing up for our seas and helping marine life to thrive by raising the profile of the Irish Sea, inspiring local communities to care for their coasts, and campaigning for more protections for our oceans.

Find out more