The Ribble Estuary is famous as a nationally important habitat for hundreds of thousands of waders and wildfowl that overwinter there each year. Very few people know that the site is also important year-round for smelt, a small estuarine shoaling fish distantly related to salmon. Smelt live in the salty water of estuaries and during May to August they swim upriver to spawn in fresh water. Smelt populations are in decline, with most of the recorded populations in Scotland now extinct, and with populations in England and Wales suffering drastic decline.
If designated in 2019, this marine conservation zone will provide the local smelt population with much-needed protection.
MPA TypeMarine Conservation Zone
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.
Surface Area15.13 km2 (5.84 mi.2)
Perimeter338.25 km (210.18 mi.)
Did you know?…
Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns
Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’
An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed
The future of fisheries is being decided
The 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!