Dart Estuary MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This beautiful site lies upstream of the historical naval town of Dartmouth, within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and includes a complex of saltmarshes, saline reedbeds and tidal mudflats. These habitats are important for wading birds and wildfowl, and provide excellent nursery habitat for commercially fished species such as bass. Both UK species of seahorse, the short-nosed and the spiny seahorse, have been recorded within the estuary as far as 3 miles upstream.

If designated in 2019, The Dart Estuary marine conservation zone will protect the second largest area of intertidal mud habitat in the English MPA network.

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

4.70 km2 (1.81 mi.2)


52.02 km (32.32 mi.)

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’

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

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

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