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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:

Anton Dohrn Seamount SAC North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC
Bassurelle Sandbank SAC North-west Orkney NCMPA
Braemar Pockmarks SAC North-West of Jones Bank MCZ
Bristol Channel Approaches SAC North-West Rockall Bank SAC
Central Fladen NCMPA Norwegian Boundary Sediment Plain NCMPA
Croker Carbonate Slabs SAC Offshore Brighton MCZ
Darwin Mounds SAC Offshore Overfalls MCZ
Dogger Bank SAC Outer Thames Estuary SPA
East of Gannet and Montrose Fields NCMPA Pisces Reef Complex SAC
East of Haig Fras MCZ Pobie Bank Reef SAC
East Rockall Bank SAC Rosemary Bank Seamount NCMPA
Farnes East MCZ Scanner Pockmark SAC
Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt NCMPA Skomer, Skokholm and the Seas off Pembrokeshire SPA
Firth of Forth Banks Complex NCMPA Solan Bank Reef SAC
Fulmar MCZ Southern North Sea SAC
Geikie Slide and Hebridean Slope NCMPA South Dorset MCZ
Greater Haig Fras MCZ South-West Deeps (West) MCZ
Greater Wash SPA Stanton Banks SAC
Haig Fras SAC Swallow Sand MCZ
Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton SAC The Barra Fan and Hebrides Terrace Seamount NCMPA
Hatton Bank cSAC The Canyons MCZ
Hatton-Rockall Basin NCMPA Turbot Bank NCMPA
Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge SAC West Shetland Shelf NCMPA
Irish Sea Front SPA West of Walney MCZ
Liverpool Bay SPA West Wales Marine SAC
North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel NCMPA Western Channel MCZ
North Anglesey Marine SAC Wight-Barfleur Reef SAC
North Channel SAC Wyville Thomson Ridge SAC
North East of Farnes Deep MCZ  

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:




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