Birds on a beach
© Jack Holt

Our MPA story so far

2000-2010
We work at the heart of the campaign for legislation to protect our seas and create the conditions to set up an MPA network.

2007-2009
We collect over half a million petition signatures in support of Marine Protected Areas.

2008
Hundreds of people, some in full dive gear, march with us to deliver 100,000 signatures supporting better protection for the marine environment to parliament.

2009
A key milestone, the Marine and Coastal Access Act is passed for the UK.

2010 The Marine (Scotland) Act reaches the statute books.

2009-2011
MCS actively participates in the regional processes to identify Marine Conservation Zones in England. We run the online ‘Your Seas Your Voice’ project gathering over 20,000 votes and nominations for potential MPAs around the UK and gathering unique data about the use and value of sites.

2012
Work with environmental law charity Clientearth results in a revised approach to management of European Marine Sites in the UK.

2013
2,000 people marched on parliament in London to demand Marine Conservation Zones in English seas. Over 40,000 people respond to a public consultation and MCS contributes unique data on the value of proposed MPAs to wider society. The first 27 MCZs are announced along with a commitment for two further consultations in 2015 and 2016.

2014
The revised approach to managing European Marine sites results in protection for the most vulnerable features including seagrass beds and reefs.

2014
MCS and other NGOs called on Scottish Government to deliver the ‘best 29’ MPAs and, in July 2014, 30 new nature conservation MPAs were set up, including the largest in Europe.

2015
Following a public consultation, a further 23 Marine Conservation Zones were designated in English waters bringing the total to 50.

2016
Leading on from the ‘Seeking Balance’ project in Sussex, management measures come into force at newly designated Kingmere and Beachy Head West MCZs.

2016
After the collaborative ‘Don’t Take the P’ campaign over 2,200km2 of inshore Scottish MPAs were protected from damaging fishing.

2017
We successfully call for protection measures at Loch Carron, where scallop dredging had destroyed rich seabed wildlife.

Actions you can take

  1. Report your wildlife sightings
  2. Browse Marine Protected Areas

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

The future of fisheries is being decided

Fisheries CampaignThe UK government has opened a public consultation asking how we think they should manage our fisheries after Brexit through a new Fisheries Bill.

Act now!