Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are zones of the seas and coasts where wildlife is protected from damage and disturbance. The Government is committed to establishing a well-managed ecologically coherent network of MPAs in our seas.
By linking MPAs together into a coherent network, supported by wider environmental management measures, we will promote the recovery and conservation of marine ecosystems. The network will contain MPAs of different sizes containing different habitats and species, connected through movements of adults and larvae, with a range of protection levels that are designed to meet objectives that single MPAs cannot. A well designed network is key to achieving biodiversity goals.
The UK has committed to establishing an ecologically coherent network of MPAs under several agreements including the OSPAR Convention, World Summit on Sustainable Development and Convention on Biological Diversity.
Marine Protected Areas are essential for healthy, functioning and resilient ecosystems – they help us deliver the Government’s vision of a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
Some human activities damage or cause disturbance to marine habitats and their species. Within an MPA such activities will be managed or restricted.
Specifically, MPAs enable us to:
There are five designations which together will form the MPA network in England:
SPAs and SACs are together termed ‘European Marine Sites’ or ‘Natura 2000 sites’ designated under the European Habitats and Birds Directives.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee have produced an information document on different types of MPAs.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act strengthens the network of Marine Protected Areas in England and Wales. The Act created a duty on Ministers to designate new areas of national importance as Marine Conservation Zones to protect the range of marine habitats and species in England’s seas contributing to a network of MPAs. The Act also provides for improved duties and powers for public bodies to manage MPAs. Lundy MCZ has now been joined by 21 new inshore sites and 5 offshore sites.
Natural England aims to achieve the favourable condition of all MPAs in the network. This will be delivered by:
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee have just launched an interactive map to display UK Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This is an innovative new tool which provides information on the designated MPAs throughout the UK and where in UK waters the habitats and species that the MPAs are designed to protect occur.
(15 July 2013) With the unprecedented expansion of the UK’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network the demands for obtaining quality marine data - which can often be expensive to collect and maintain – are ever increasing.
(20 February 2013) Southampton's shipping lane is being expanded to allow the largest ships in the world to visit the port.