Newquay and The Gannel MCZ
This Marine Conservation Zone (which is a type of Marine Protected Area) is 9km2 and lies alongside the Cornish coast, around Newquay. This site includes the Gannel estuary, stretching along its seaward boundary. This area has a huge variety of habitats, from salt-marsh and saline reed-beds to sand and rocky reef. Pin sea fans, crayfish, European eel and sponges can be found living on the reef. Sandeels, which burrow and hide in the sand and gravel to avoid predators, also live here. Salmon even migrate up the estuary to breed here. The site is also home to the giant goby, native oysters, ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, goldsinny, pollack, rock cook, and seabass.
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 Area8.99 km2 (3.47 mi.2)
Perimeter47.50 km (29.52 mi.)
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.
Subtidal coarse sediment
Undersea beds of coarse sand, gravel and shingle. Most of the animals that live here, like bristleworms, sand mason worms, small shrimp-like animals, burrowing anemones, carpet shell clams and venus cockles, are found buried in the seabed – the safest pl
High energy circalittoral rock
Rocky areas affected by strong waves or currents where the water depth means there is not enough sunlight so marine animal communities like sponges, sea firs and soft corals dominate and seaweeds are mostly absent.
The quiet water in sheltered estuaries and harbours allows very fine silt and clay to settle and form a layer of mud that can be exposed at low tide. These glistening muddy expanses can be packed ful of life and are sometimes called the ‘larders of the s
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.
Low energy intertidal rock
Rocky seashores, sheltered from waves and currents dominated by seaweeds and exposed at low tide.
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 mixed sediments
Sheltered shores where there is a mixture of pebbles, gravels, sands and mud and there may also be rocks and a few large boulders. Because it’s diverse, it provides a home for a wide variety of animals.
Intertidal coarse sediment
Where small rocks, pebbles, and gravel, sometimes mixed with coarse sand are sometimes covered by the tide. While it may not look like much lives there - there are animals specially adapted to live in the moist spaces between the shingle and gravel.
Coastal saltmarshes and saline reedbeds
Saltmarshes link the land and the sea and create very specialised conditions for particular plants. They form a natural coastal defence and are home to a large variety of life. Associated reedbeds are equally rich and improtant and support iconic species
High energy infralittoral rock
Shallow water rock, below the tides, exposed to very strong waves and currents.
Moderate energy infralittoral rock
Shallow water rock, below the tides, with some shelter from waves and currents.
Estuarine rocky habitats
Estuaries are usually soft, muddy places, so rock and stable boulders in estuaries are rare and offer a great habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.
Seasearch divers in Cornwall have gathered a lot of ongoing evidence on the marine life in this protected area, close to the popular resort of Newquay on Cornwall’s north coast.Learn more about Seasearch
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 half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns
Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’
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