Pagham Harbour MCZ

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site lies between Bognor Regis and Chichester in West Sussex, and the naturally occurring harbour is a tidal inlet. The Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), a type of Marine Protected Area, protects features within the harbour area including the Ferry Pool lagoon and Church Norton spit. The site covers a total area of nearly 3 km2 - making it one of the smallest MCZs. The spit runs next to the coast which makes it a sheltered environment, so it is home to a varied and diverse number of species. This is one of just three places in the UK where the rare Defolin’s lagoon snail occurs. Seagrass beds are found in this site and act as an important food source for wildfowl, as well as a safe place for younger fish to hide. 

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

2.83 km2 (1.09 mi.2)


18.46 km (11.47 mi.)

  • Defolin’s lagoon snail (Caecum armoricum)

    This extremely rare, tiny creature, only 2mm long, looks nothing like your common or garden snail. It’s shell is like a tiny curved test tube!

  • Lagoon sand shrimp (Gammarus insensibilis)

    Small animals, only about 2cm long at most, that are found in a very small number of lagoons. Very little is known about them.

  • Seagrass beds

    Seagrasses (also known, for their long thin leaves, as eel grass) are grass-like flowering plants with dark green, long, narrow, ribbon-shaped leaves. They are one of the very few groups of flowering plants that live in the sea.

Did you know?…

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

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

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