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Marine Conservation Zones


Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are areas designated to safeguard vulnerable or unique marine species and habitats of national importance.

In 2008, the Marine Conservation Zone Project set up to identify and recommend areas suitable for designation as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZs). It was set up by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England, supported by many other organisations and public.

The 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act allowed for the creation of MCZs with the hope that they will protect vitally important habitats, geology, and wildlife.


In July 2012, the proposals drawn up from the data collected and research conducted, were submitted to the Government.

Today there are 91 MCZs in waters around England.

The nearest to Polzeath, is the 'South-West Deeps (west)', an area roughly 230km from the south-west coast. Important features of this location include the sand banks which are some of the largest in the world. The designated site protects this subtidal sandy habitat, which is essential for species such as polychaete worms, urchins, and starfish.

A really useful map to keep you updated can be found on the Wildlife Trusts website. This map allows you to learn about the particular species being protected by each MCZ.

To definitely make sure you are up-to-date with all things MCZ, you can sign up to and receive a monthly newsletter from the Wildlife Trusts.

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