Healthy seas, rich in marine wildlife, are not only important in their own right but contribute to our quality of life.
As well as providing food, energy, industry and leisure our seas absorb and retain more carbon dioxide than the land and habitats such as seagrass beds and kelp forests play an important role in combating climate change.
With some of the most diverse waters in Europe our seas are home to a fantastic range of wildlife including dolphins, corals and seahorses. Every species and habitat has a role to play in the health and resilience of our environment and contributes to our future wellbeing so it is vital that we protect them.
A network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) will play an important role in conserving our marine life. Within this network, our European marine sites conserve species and habitats, including birds, of European importance. Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are a new type of MPA and will conserve representative habitats, as well as species and habitats of conservation importance in the UK.
Below are marine features that MCZs will be designed to protect.