Hythe Bay MCZ

Status: Dropped


Site overview

Hythe Bay covers an area of muddy seabed laced with a rich diversity of burrowing invertebrates with bizarre names and habits, including green-tongued spoon worms,  stalk-eyed square crabs, sea mice, bristle stars and the sand mason worm. This muddy bottom community provides rich pickings for a number of fish species, which in turn are targeted by commercial fishermen. Indeed, the designation of site is opposed by many local fishermen who are concerend they will be excluded from using the site.

Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 should lead to new management at the site, which allows low impact fishing to continue, but prohibits those fisheries that use gear that damage these delicate muddy seabed communities.   

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

41.10 km2 (15.87 mi.2)


25.48 km (15.83 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 2' 26" North, 1° 5' 12" East

Seasearch Logo

Partners at Kent Seasearch have dived this site in recent years gathering data to support designation. It is another area of soft mud with creatures that live mainly inside sediment - also known as infauna.

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

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

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers