Morte Platform MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This small site lies about 5km off the coast of North Devon and includes a unique range of sandy and rocky seabed habitats rarely found elsewhere. This is due the site’s combination of high tidal flows, high sediment suspension and a mosaic of seabed ridges. Flatfish, bass and sand eels use the site for foraging and nursery habitat, and the prevalence of these species supports local puffin and guillemot populations.

There are very few sites that lie beyond 6nm and are properly protected in English seas. Designation of this Marine Conservation Zone in 2019 would be a valuable addition to the UK network of marine protected areas, and should afford this seabed protection from damaging activities such as damaging fishing gear.

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

25.47 km2 (9.83 mi.2)


20.97 km (13.03 mi.)

  • Moderate energy circalittoral rock

    Deeper water rock, with some shelter from waves and currents.

  • 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

  • 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.

Did you know?…

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

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