Lundy MCZ

Status: Designated


Site overview

The seas around Lundy Island have several different types of protection, there is a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in this area, as well as this Special Area of Conservation (SAC); both are types of Marine Protected Area. The boundary for the SAC follows that of the MCZ.  Overview The beautiful clear waters of Lundy are home to an incredibly diverse array of marine life. The warm southern currents of the Gulf Stream meet colder northern waters, creating a unique environment where cool water and Mediterranean species live side by side. The often clear, turquoise waters open up a window into this world revealing glimpses of brightly coloured sea stars, delicate jewel anemones and rare corals which bedeck the underwater granite cliffs. If you go out on the water you are likely to run into the inquisitive Atlantic seals which live in this area. It is not uncommon to see 30 or 40 seals following kayakers who paddle through.  Properly Protected The incredible, but fragile, marine life at Lundy has been protected since 1971, when a voluntary marine nature reserve was established around the island. In the 80s it was designated as England’s first, and what turned out to be only, statutory Marine Nature Reserve (MNR). Then, in January 2003, the east coast of the island was designated a No-Take Zone (NTZ) meaning that it is completely protected from fishing and damaging activities. The waters around Lundy became England’s first Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ - a type of Marine Protected Area) in January 2010.  In a small area around Lundy it is illegal to remove sea life from the sea. This is known as a no take zone. After just four years of protection the lobster populations of Lundy were recovering with more large lobsters found in the reserve than in the waters outside it. This is because the reserve acts as a refuge where young lobsters can grow to maturity.

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

30.69 km2 (11.85 mi.2)


52.52 km (32.63 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.

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Volunteer Seasearch divers have been diving this site for decades. Over the years they have provided evidence on the condition of key species at the site including the pink seafan and its disease. Regular surveys of the sea fan populations at Lundy have been underway since 2001 when, sadly, they suffered from a bacterial infection which caused extensive damage to the colonies. Many of these dead colonies still stand and provide a habitat for a variety of other animals. Where colonies were not completely killed the remaining living sections continued to grow and a particular characteristic of the sea fans on Lundy remains large colonies with a dead centre and healthy growing extremities.

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Did you know?…

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

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