Cape Bank MPA
Please be advised that the conservation advice package for Cape Bank MCZ was published on 5 October 2023. As the site lies across the 12 m territorial sea limit the advice is jointly delivered with Natural England and can be found on Natural England's Designated Sites System.
Status: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)
Cape Bank MCZ is a joint site with Natural England located in the Western Channel and Celtic Sea region to the west of Land’s End. The site covers an area of approximately 474 km2 and is mostly within the 12 nm territorial limit, therefore advice for this MPA is jointly delivered with Natural England.
Cape Bank MCZ covers an area of approximately 474 km2. It lies to the west of Land's End Peninsula and extends to almost 25 km from the coast. Depths within the site range between 30 and 75 m.
The site lies across the 12 nm territorial sea limit, and therefore advice for this MPA is jointly delivered with Natural England.
Subtidal coarse sediment covers most of the site and is an important habitat for a variety of species that can be found buried within the substrate such as bristleworms, burrowing anemones and venus clams (Chamelea gallina). The sediment also provides nursery grounds for important fish species such as seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sand eels (Ammodytes marinus).
Cape Bank MCZ contains a rocky reef system that extends in a broad arching crescent roughly in line with the coastline. The reef is a site of high biodiversity supporting species such as sponges, soft corals, cup corals and anemones, as well as starfish and sea urchins. The reef also provides habitat for the commercially important spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas).
The Cape Bank MCZ overlaps with the Lands End and Cape Bank SAC that has been identified for the protection of Annex I Reefs.
More detailed site information can be found in the Summary section below.
Map displaying the Cape Bank MPA boundary and associated protected feature data. Visit JNCC's MPA Mapper to further view and explore data for this MPA.
Legislation behind the designation: Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009)
|Protected Feature||Feature Type|
|Moderate energy circalittoral rock||Broad-scale habitat|
|Subtidal coarse sediment||Broad-scale habitat|
Specific information on the conservation objectives related to this site is provided in the Conservation Advice section.
The acquisition of new data may result in updates to our knowledge on feature presence and extent within this site. The most up-to-date information is reflected on the map on this page and in JNCC’s MPA mapper and the evidence underpinning this can be viewed in the Evidence section.
The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of the Cape Bank MCZ. More detail can be found within the Relevant Documentation section and in the post-consultation advice.
The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to Cape Bank MCZ were produced during the selection and designation process and therefore may be out of date. This Site Information Centre is the most up-to-date source of information for this MPA, and will reflect any additional information gathered since these documents were produced. Further information about the Marine Conservation Zone site selection process and historic MCZ advice is available on JNCC's MCZ webpage.
- Cape Bank MCZ Designation Order – the official description of the site designation under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The Designation Order includes boundary co-ordinates, Conservation Objectives and a list of the designated features. More information on the Designation Order, including a designation map and factsheet is available on Defra's website.
- Natural England's pre- and post-consultation scientific advice for features proposed for designation in 2019.
- Natural England and JNCC's formal conservation advice for this site is available in the Conservation Advice section.
Last updated: July 2020
Information for this site summary was adapted from Natural England's scientific advice to Defra on Cape Bank MCZ and incorporates any further information gathered since this advice was produced. Please refer to the Relevant Documentation section for further details and information sources.
Cape Bank MCZ was originally proposed by the Finding Sanctuary regional Project and is an inshore site that crosses the 12 nm boundary making it partially offshore. It covers an area of approximately 474 km2. The site is located within the Western Channel and Celtic Sea area to the west of Land's End Peninsula. The site occupies a depth range of 30 m to 75 m.
The site has an offshore upstanding reef which extends in a broad, arching crescent roughly aligned with the coastline and is almost entirely composed of granite. The rocky reef is the major feature of conservation interest at the site and fully submarine. The reef supports a high level of biodiversity including species such as sponges, soft corals, cup corals and anemones as well as starfish and sea urchins. The rocky reef is often covered in mixed tufted or encrusting animal colonies (bryozoans) that resemble mosses. The site provides habitat for the commercially important spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas).
Subtidal coarse sediment covers most of the site and provides a habitat for a variety of animals that can be found buried in the seabed, this includes bristleworms, burrowing anemones and venus clams (Chamelea gallina). The sediment also provides nursery grounds for important fish species such as seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sand eels (Ammodytes marinus).
Further detail on the evidence for this MCZ can be found in the Evidence section.
Site location: Co-ordinates for this MCZ can be found in the Designation Order listed in the Relevant Documentation section.
Site area: 474 km2.
Site depth range: 30–75 m.
Charting Progress 2 Biogeographic Region: Western Channel & Celtic Seas.
Site boundary description: The site straddles the 6 nm and 12 nm limits. The eastern boundary follows the boundary of the Cape Bank section of the Land's End to Cape Bank SAC. The western boundary extends beyond 12 nm. The boundary of the Cape Bank MCZ has not changed since it was recommended by the Finding Sanctuary Regional project in 2011 and follows the guidance provided by the MCZ project Ecological Network Guidance (ENG).
Last updated: July 2020
There are a range of data that underpin this MCZ. The full overview of these data used to support site identification along with information on confidence in feature presence and extent is available in Natural England's Tranche Three MCZ pre-consultation and post-consultation scientific advice for Marine Conservation Zones proposed for designation in 2019. JNCC will be adding relevant survey data for this MPA to its MPA mapper in due course.
Some of the data for this MCZ have been collected through collaborative surveys between Natural England and Cefas and some through other means. Data from these surveys provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site.
Last updated: May 2023
JNCC and Natural England have published draft conservation advice for Cape Bank MCZ (May 2023). This advice is available through Natural England's Designated Sites System for Cape Bank MCZ.
The advice reflects the most up-to-date evidence held my Natural England and JNCC. The conservation advice should be taken into consideration to assess the effects which a planned activity can have on the site's integrity and when making decisions regarding management and consenting of marine activities in or near the site.
Activities and Management
Last updated: July 2020
Management status: To be assessed.
Information on the management for the site can be found in the Cape Bank MCZ Factsheet
This site forms part of the UK's contribution to the OSPAR Commission's network of MPAs. As the UK is a contracting party to the OSPAR Commission, JNCC is committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is well-managed.
JNCC considers well-managed to mean the timely progress of an MPA around the 'MPA management cycle'. This involves:
- The documentation of appropriate management information – conservation objectives, advice on activities capable of affecting the protected features of a site, and spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected features of a site.
- The implementation of management measures – management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
- Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a site's conservation objectives.
- Assessment of progress towards conservation objectives – using available information to infer whether or not a site is moving towards or has achieved its conservation objectives.
Last updated: July 2020
For MPAs, data and evidence collected from monitoring activities will aim to:
- Enable assessment of condition of the features within sites;
- Enable assessment of the degree to which management measures are effective in achieving the conservation objectives for the protected features;
- Support the identification of priorities for future protection and/or management; and
- Enable Government to fulfil its national and international assessment and reporting commitments in relation to MPAs and help identify where further action may be required.
Information on monitoring of this MPA will be provided when it becomes available.