North-West of Jones Bank MCZ

Status: Designated


Site overviewgggg

A large site, 398km2, situated well offshore (165km west of Land’s End), right out over the continental shelf into the Atlantic.  The seabed here is mainly muddy - which is the perfect home for small burrowing animals such as worms, molluscs, cockles, urchins and sea cucumbers, as well as fish and rays which feed on these.  Many types of seabird also spend their winters here, as the relatively stable sea conditions keep a supply of food available in all but the stormiest weather. For example, this site is special for the great northern divers that spend time here between August and the early spring, when they move back to their largely Icelandic breeding grounds. 

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

398.10 km2 (153.71 mi.2)


79.82 km (49.59 mi.)

  • 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.

  • Sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities

    Areas of stable muddy seabed, where animals burrow below and sea pens protrude from the surface. Sea pens are colonial animals that look a bit like quill pen.

  • 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

  • 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?…

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 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas