Norris to Ryde MCZ

Status: Dropped


Site overview

The Norris to Ryde area of sea and coast on the Isle of Wight is popular with tourists from around the world. It is also home to one of the largest seagrass meadows in the south-east region, totalling around 500 acres, or the equivalent of 200 football pitches! Seagrass is a really important habitat; its long roots help to stabilise the sea bottom, and the meadows provide nursery habitat for fish and crustaceans, which inturn support populations of the predatory mantis shrimp and cuttlefish. The local fishery for cuttlefish has grown in recent years. The inland lagoons in this site support the highest recorded density of tentacled lagoon worms in the region, and provide critical overwintering habitat for many species of waders and wildlfowl.

Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 should protect these special habitats for posterity and allow low-impact fishing to continue.

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.

Surface Area

19.75 km2 (7.63 mi.2)


43.99 km (27.33 mi.)

Seasearch Logo

There has been little Seasearch diving activity at this site, but our partners at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have gathered intertidal data on seagrass. There are plans afoot for Seasearch divers to explore the seaward, deeper extent of the seagrass bed in 2018. We’ll bring you links to reports on what is found when the information is available.

Learn more about Seasearch

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’

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘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