Fulmar MCZ

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

Fulmar is 224km offshore from the Northumberland coast. It is one of the deepest and most northerly of all the Marine Conservation Zones (a type of Marine Protected Area).  Here the seafloor is mainly sand and gravel, which provides an ideal home for creatures to bury themselves, such as  the ocean quahog. This long-lived mollusc is often preyed upon by North Sea cod. Camouflaged against the surface of the seafloor, the undulate ray is a regular visitor here. This is also an important area for seabirds, providing foraging grounds for northern fulmars and northern gannets. Northern fulmar chicks have an interesting defense tactic whilst in their nests to keep themselves safe - they projectile vomit an oily liquid at their predators! This sticky secretion has a rotten fish smell and glues the attacker’s feathers together. The consequences are not good for the chicks’ opponents. 

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

2,437.15 km2 (940.99 mi.2)

Perimeter

200.21 km (124.41 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

56° 21' 4" North, 2° 10' 40" East

  • Ocean quahog (Arctica islandica)

    The ocean quahog is a two-shelled animal that looks like a very large cockle and lives buried in the seabed. It can grow up to 13cm across and can be very long lived, with one individual reported to have reached over 500 years old.

  • Ocean quahog (Arctica islandica)

    The ocean quahog is a two-shelled animal that looks like a very large cockle and lives buried in the seabed. It can grow up to 13cm across and can be very long lived, with one individual reported to have reached over 500 years old.

  • Subtidal mud

    A very rich and diverse muddy undersea habitat that supports high numbers of worms, cockles and other shellfish, urchins and sea cucumbers as well as sea pens, burrowing anemones and brittlestars.

  • Subtidal sand

    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 mixed sediments

    Undersea beds of a mixture of stones, gravels, sands and muds. Because mixed seabeds are so varied, they may support a wide range of animals, both on and in the sediment.

Did you know?…

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

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 on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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