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Marine Protected Area Advice

The offshore marine environment supports a diverse range of benthic habitats, and many important species, including seabirds and marine mammals. 

Our statutory remit in the offshore environment means that we are responsible for the designation and management of offshore protected areas and sites, which extend from the edge of territorial waters out to the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).  Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the tools that can help us to protect the marine environment, whilst also enabling its sustainable use, ensuring it remains healthy for generations to come. We have produced Site Information Centres for all MPAs in the offshore marine environment surrounding the UK. These offer a single, consistent and up-to date point of reference for those interested in particular sites.

We have been at the forefront of providing technical advice on the development of the UK MPA network for over ten years, and the UK is one of the leading countries for coverage of MPAs within its national waters.  We also play an important role in co-ordinating the different marine protected area programmes across the four countries of the UK. 


  • Seapen©JNCC-©Cefas

    Support the designation of sites: We provide advice on the selection and designation of Marine Protected Areas in offshore waters, and undertake assessments of the effectiveness of MPA networks in the UK in contributing to international targets and aspirations. By the end of 2018, we had undertaken six network assessments of MPAs in UK waters.

  • Wolf fish©Oceana2017

    Provide advice on conservation and management: Following designation, we are responsible for raising awareness and providing advice on the conservation objectives for each offshore Marine Protected area.  We have developed Site Information Centres (SICs), which provide a wide range of material about the UK's offshore MPAs. 

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