Western Channel MCZ

Status: Designated


Site overview

Western Channel is one of the largest Marine Conservation Zones (a type of Marine Protected Area), located 54km south-east of Lizard Peninsula. It is 50 m deep. This area is home to a wealth of marine life, from the smaller burrowing anemones, segmented worms, sea urchins and hermit crabs to fish and animals that feed off them, such as basking sharks, foraging seabirds, and the short-beaked common dolphin. The area is hugely influenced by Atlantic currents, which bring an abundance of nutrients from cooler, deeper waters into the shallower, sunlit surface waters here. 

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

1,614.13 km2 (623.22 mi.2)


225.19 km (139.93 mi.)

  • 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 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

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

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