Thames Estuary MCZ

Status: Dropped


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 – we will be calling on the government to ensure that this site is included in the next round of designations.

MPA Type

Marine 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.

Did you know?…

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

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

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