Morecambe Bay SAC

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

Morecambe Bay in north-west England is the made up of four main estuaries, the Leven, Kent, Lune and Wyre, together with other smaller examples such as the Keer. Together these form the largest single area of continuous intertidal mudflats and sandflats in the UK. The Lune Estuary falls within the Morecambe Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a type of Marine Protected Area. The Wyre is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A proposed Marine Conservation Zone in the area will complement these designations and provide much needed protection for smelt, which is why it is important that this area is recognised and designated in 2017.  Morecambe Bay supports exceptionally large beds of mussels and is also home to a large variety of sponges. 

MPA Type

Special Area of Conservation

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under European legislation. They contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Designation date

1 October 1996

Surface Area

615.78 km2 (237.75 mi.2)

Perimeter

330.71 km (205.50 mi.)

  • Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)

    Areas with specially adapted plants found in the upper reaches of saltmarshes that are not always reached by the tide. The habitat is used for grazing, but is also very important for birds.

  • Estuaries

    The downstream part of a river, where it nears the sea, which is influenced by the tide These complex habitats can include areas always submerged by the tide as well as those exposed at low tide. They can be exceptionally important feeding and breeding ar

  • Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
  • Lagoons (Coastal lagoons)
  • Subtidal sandbanks

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

  • Shallow inlets and bays (Shallow inlets and bays)
  • Glasswort and other annuals colonising mud and sand (Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand)

    Specialised plants able to thrive in the lower reaches of saltmarshes where the vegetation is frequently flooded by the tide. It is important as it can help the development of more stable saltmarsh.

  • Reefs

    Areas where the bedrock, stable boulders and cobbles or structures created by animals arise from the surrounding seabed. They attract and provide a home to a huge variety of plant and animal life.

Did you know?…

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

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

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