South-West Approaches to Bristol Channel MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This site is important because it is a large offshore site that would protect a range of sand, gravel and shingle habitats, and one of the few MPAs beyond 6nm that protects muddy seabed. Muddy habitats are highly productive, home to burrowing worms, molluscs and crustaceans, which in turn provide food for many fish species, including those fish we eat. This site will protect part of the food chain on which we depend and should be designated.

There are very few sites that lie beyond 6nm and are properly protected in English seas. MCS believes this site should be considered for designation as a Highly Protected Marine Area where all human activities that negatively impact marine wildlife are prohibited.

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

1,128.07 km2 (435.55 mi.2)


153.14 km (95.15 mi.)

  • Subtidal sand

    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.

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

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers