Isles of Scilly Sites - Plympton to Spanish Ledge MCZ
This Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), a type of Marine Protected Area, is actually one of 11 which make up the Isles of Scilly MCZs. These sites are approximately 45 kilometers southwest of the Cornish coast and cover a total area of over 30 km2. These areas include a variety of habitats and species and the waters range from sea level to 70 meters deep. The shallow inshore areas are rich in seaweeds, rocky areas are home to encrusting animals such as barnacles and sea squirts, as well as crabs and fish that use the spaces between rocks and boulders for shelter. Sandy habitats support burrowing marine worms and shrimp-like sandhoppers, whilst deeper waters support sea-fans and anemones. Both the short-snouted and the spiny seahorse are found here, as are rare species including sunset cup corals.
MPA TypeMarine 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 Area2.91 km2 (1.12 mi.2)
Perimeter11.89 km (7.39 mi.)
Spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas)
Crustaceans named for the sharp spines all over their heavy, orange-brown shells. They used to be fished commercially, but numbers have decreased dramatically and this species has disappeared entirely from some parts of England where they were common.
High energy intertidal rock
Rocky seashores, exposed to very strong waves and currents.
Moderate energy intertidal rock
Rocky seashores, above low tide, with some shelter from waves and currents. On these shores, there are places where plants and animals can find shelter from the waves – the landward sides of boulders, in cracks and crevices, and in rock pools.
Intertidal sand and muddy sand
The beach! Sandy shores are made up of clean sand or slightly muddy sand, often scattered with seashells and stones. The surface is often ‘rippled’ by the action of waves. Below the surface worms and shellfish stay safe and damp.
Intertidal underboulder communities
The marine life living under boulders on the seashore. These damp, shady spots are home to a different set of creatures that you don’;t find on the rest of the shore.
Did you know?…
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