Bembridge MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

Popular with sailors who travel to Bembridge to enjoy life on the waves, as well as local pot fishermen, the seabed at this site is a real treasure chest of UK seas. Hugging the east coast of the Isle of Wight, and stretching out into the Eastern Solent, Bembridge hosts a suite of diverse habitats and some very rare marine wildlife. The site has been proposed to protect its maerl beds - made up of a pink coralline algae - as well as the scarce stalked jellyfish and long-snouted seahorse. The reef-building ross worm, native oysters and seagrass beds are also found here. The ledges to the south of Bembridge Harbour are home to large fields of the nationally rare peacock’s tail seaweed, as well as the lagoon sand shrimp and starlet sea anemone.

Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 will protect this jewel of our seas for posterity, allow low-impact fishing to continue, and and allow populations of some very special marine wildife to recover and prosper.

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

84.83 km2 (32.75 mi.2)


56.74 km (35.25 mi.)

Seasearch Logo

A targeted survey in August 2017 discovered large numbers of echiuran spoonworms in soft mud (an unusual habitat) which had previously been recorded in the area. The focus for Seaserch divers in 2018 will be on exploring maerl in the south of the site in Sandown Bay.

Learn more about Seasearch

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

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

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