Erme Estuary MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This sheltered estuary lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is a popular, remote destination for holiday makers looking for a quiet and relaxed day by the sea. and approximately 6.5km long. The river is shrouded by dense woodland, and the estuary supports a matrix of sandy seabed, bedrock and intertidal mud habitats, providing excellent habitat for wading birds. Sea trout and salmon use the river for spawning, there are important fish nursery habitats and the sands are used for bait and shellfish collecting. Defra indicates that this site has a low level of human activity and that there are no significant costs of designation of the site to any sector.

Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 is unlikely to affect any current human use of the site and will help protect it from any future developments that may threaten its natural beauty.

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

1.32 km2 (0.51 mi.2)


22.13 km (13.75 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 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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