Carlingford Lough MCZ

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is a narrow, shallow sea lough that lies on the east coast of Ireland, located at the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The area consists of sand and mudflats that provide key feeding grounds for birds. The muddy seabed is home to sea-pens and white sea slugs.

At risk Although this site was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone in 2016, which is a type of Marine Protected Area, it has no management. The government launched a consultation into this site, along with three others and are currently reviewing the responses. We urge them to designate this area as quickly as possible. 

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone in Northern Ireland

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.

Designation date

12 December 2016

Surface Area

3.23 km2 (1.25 mi.2)


8.79 km (5.46 mi.)

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Seasearch responded to the government’s consultation on designating this site.  This report noted that the slender sea-pens in this area are the most abundant the divers had ever seen in Northern Ireland. 

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

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

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns