South of Portland MCZ
The stone for St Pauls Cathedral, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, originated on Portland. The powerful Portland Race, a raging tidal flow that runs south and north past Portland Bill, has gouged the 100m Portland Deep into the soft seabed rock south of the Isle of Portland. It’s a unique geological feature that’s filled with marine wildlife. The crags and canyons provide a home for a high diversity of invertebrates, such as anemones, sponges, sea squirts and pink sea fans, that cling on in this dynamic habitat. Beyond the Deep lie blue mussel beds, providing a more sheltered habitat for a variety of fish and invertebrates.
Designation of this Marine Conservation Zone in 2019 will protect this unique site and its marine wildlife for future generations.
MPA TypeMarine 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 Area17.49 km2 (6.75 mi.2)
Perimeter18.00 km (11.19 mi.)
Moderate energy circalittoral rock
Deeper water rock, with some shelter from waves and currents.
Sandy seascapes that can seem a bit like deserts, but can be full of life. Flat fish and sand eels camouflaged on the surface of the sand,worms and bivalves (with their paired, hinged shells) all live in places like these.
Subtidal coarse sediment
Undersea beds of coarse sand, gravel and shingle. Most of the animals that live here, like bristleworms, sand mason worms, small shrimp-like animals, burrowing anemones, carpet shell clams and venus cockles, are found buried in the seabed – the safest pl
Subtidal mixed sediments
Undersea beds of a mixture of stones, gravels, sands and muds. Because mixed seabeds are so varied, they may support a wide range of animals, both on and in the sediment.
High energy circalittoral rock
Rocky areas affected by strong waves or currents where the water depth means there is not enough sunlight so marine animal communities like sponges, sea firs and soft corals dominate and seaweeds are mostly absent.
Seasearch survey dives are planned for Summer 2018. This is a very challenging site to dive, being up to 80m deep (well beyond normal limits for recreational SCUBA divers) and subject to very strong tidal streams. It is notable for its geological feature (Portland Deep) and high diversity of life on the seabed.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 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers
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