Three new sites for marine protection


JNCC has launched a public consultation on the selection of three important marine protected areas for reef habitat and carbonate structures. The sites will supplement the existing network of 94 marine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and will contribute to the ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) currently being developed by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The consultation, which closes at the end of September 2011, has invited comments  on the scientific justification for proposing three sites as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), as well as the assessment of the likely socio-economic effects on marine industries of designating the sites as SACs.


The three sites in UK offshore waters are:


Wight-Barfleur Reef

This large area of rocky and stony tideswept reef in 25-100m water depth is south of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. The site is home to a mixture of bright-coloured branching and encrusting sponges, sea squirts, anemones and crabs. 




Pisces Reef Complex

Several small areas of rocky reef in a deep muddy basin in the Irish Sea. The nooks and crannies in the rock provide hiding places for fish, with bright-coloured sea squirts, lampshells, starfish and hydroids on the rock surfaces. 





Croker Carbonate Slabs

In the southern Irish Sea, this extensive area of rare carbonate rock was formed by methane gas leaking from under the seabed.  The rock is in 70-100m water depth and is covered with the white soft coral dead men’s fingers and plant-like hydroids, orange squat lobsters and dark red bloody henry starfish.




Information on how to respond to the consultation, the scientific justification for site selection and the associated impact assessments can be found on the JNCC Website

Contact File


Amy Ridgeway

Senior Marine Protected Areas Adviser

Tel: +44 (0)1733 866841


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