Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

MCZs protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology. The Marine Conservation Zone Project concerns the selection of MCZs in English inshore waters and offshore waters next to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sites will be selected to protect not just the rare and threatened, but the range of marine wildlife.

Title: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

Status: Statutory - Designated MCZ covers an area of 3065Ha

When designated: Lundy was designated the UK’s first Voluntary Marine Nature Reserve (vMNR) in 1971; in 1986 it became the first Statutory MNR then in January 2010 it became the first MCZ.

Feature: Crawfish (Spiny Lobster), Palinurus elephas - recover to a favorable condition


What is a MCZ?

The Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) created a new type of Marine Protected Area (MPA), called a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).

Prior to Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allowed for the designation of Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs). Two MNRs were designated, one at Lundy and one at Skomer (plus Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland under separate legislation). Lundy MNR was designated by Order under the Wildlife and Countryside Act on 20 November 1986.  It was the only designated MNR in England.

The Marine and Coastal Access (M&CA) Act 2009 provides for any area designated as a Marine Nature Reserve immediately before the commencement date (12 January 2010) to be treated as an MCZ on and after that date. Consequently, on 12th January 2010 Lundy MNR became the ‘Lundy Marine Conservation Zone’.

MCZs, together with other types of MPA, will deliver the Government's aim for an 'ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas'. This means the MPA network will be a collection of areas that work together to provide more benefits than an individual area could on its own.

What it means for Lundy: 

The combined protection of the SAC, MCZ and NTZ together make the marine protected area around Lundy. These statuses together protect the majority of habitats and the residing species and as As the FIRST MCZ Lundy is considered the cornerstone site for the continuing development of a network of Marine Protected areas.

  • Underwater scenery © Mike Deaton
  • Ross Bryzoan © Maggs Ashton
  • Jewel anemones © Mike Deaton
  • Cuckoo Wrasse and Urchin © Keith Hiscock

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Copyright Lundy MCZ 2017