Offshore Marine Protected Areas
This page provides links to the Site Information Centres (SICs), which have been developed for designated offshore MPAs in the UK. Information about MPAs located in both territorial and offshore waters is available on JNCC's interactive map.
To access the Site Information Centre, please click on the relevant site in the table below:
There are several types of MPA in the UK, which in combination are intended to form an 'ecologically coherent and well-managed network' as a contribution to the effective conservation and sustainable use of the UK’s marine environment. These include:
- Special Areas of Conservation (SACs): Designated to protect habitats and species of European importance.
- Special Protection Areas (SPAs): Classified to protect bird species of European importance and regularly occurring migratory birds.
- Nature Conservation MPAs: These MPAs have been designated in waters around Scotland for nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology. They are a national designation introduced under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) (for offshore waters) and the Marine (Scotland) Act (2010) (for territorial waters).
- Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs): MCZs are a national designation introduced under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009), and have been designated in English territorial waters, and UK offshore waters around England, Wales and Northern Ireland for nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology.
For further information about Marine Protected Areas, and their site designations, go to 'About MPAs'.
MPAs in territorial waters
Information on MPAs in territorial waters (0–12 nautical miles) is available via the links to the country Nature conservation body websites:
- England – Natural England
- Scotland – Scottish Natural Heritage
- Wales – Natural Resources Wales
- Northern Ireland – Department of the Environment