Thames Estuary

Site overview The seabed towards the estuary mouth is made up of coarse sediments, mixed sediments, sand and mud, some of which is thought to be in near perfect condition. This site is an important corridor for European eels which swim from freshwater to the sea. This has the second highest density of eels of all estuaries surveyed by the Environment Agency. Mass spawning of a type of fish called smelt takes place in the spring on the gravel between Battersea and Wandsworth. The Thames is considered to be important for Dover sole, river lamprey, sea lamprey, twaite shad, salmon, flounder, bass, whiting, herring, sprat and cod. There is even thought to be a permanent population of short-snouted seahorse living in the area!
At risk: This site isn’t yet designated as a Marine Conservation Zone, but it should be. It is important that this site gets the protection it needs ÔÇô we will be calling on the government to ensure that this site is included in the next round of designations.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Marine Conservation Zone
MPA Purpose
to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology


51° 29' 38" North,
0° 26' 43" East

Surface Area

111.74 km2
(43.14 mi.2 )


591.82 km
(367.74 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site