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West of Wight-Barfleur MPA

Status: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ is located in the English Channel.  The seabed is characterised by Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments. 

Site

West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ is located approximately 50 km off the Dorset coast in the English Channel region.  The seabed is comprised of Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments.  This mix of habitats allow a diverse range of species to thrive.

The site covers an area of 138 km2, reaching depths of around 50 m to 100 m.  The site is designated for the protection of two broad-scale habitats, Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments.  These habitats support a diverse range of species living both on and within the sediment, including worms, bivalve molluscs, starfish and anemones. 

West of Wight-Barfleur was recommended to Defra as a new site to increase the connectivity in the UK’s MPA network of the broad-scale habitats Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments.  A 2006 BGS survey provided data allowing for Cefas to model a habitat map.  Updated habitat maps have since been provided by UKSeaMap 2016.  Further habitat data have been offered through Cefas acoustic surveys, with directed ground-truth sampling in the form of video and still images. 

More detailed site information can be found in the Summary section below.

Map displaying the West of Wight-Barfleur MPA boundary and associated protected feature data. Visit JNCC's MPA Mapper to further view and explore data for this MPA.

Map showing West of Wight-Barfleur Marine Protected Area and linking to the MPA mapper

Legislation

Legislation behind the designation: Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009)

 

Protected Features

Protected Feature Feature Type
Subtidal coarse sediment Broad-scale habitat
Subtidal mixed sediments 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.

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Site Timeline

The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of the West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ. More detail can be found within the Relevant Documentation section and in the post-consultation advice

2016–2017
West of Wight-Barfleur is developed as a new site option to address network shortfalls of Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments.
June 2018 – July 2018
West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ is included in formal public consultation on Tranche Three MCZs.
May 2019
Tranche three designations announced – West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ designated.

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Relevant Documentation

The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to West of Wight-Barfleur 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.

  • West of Wight-Barfleur 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.
  • JNCC's pre- and post-consultation scientific advice for features proposed for designation in 2019.
  • JNCC's formal conservation advice for this site is available in the Conservation Advice section.

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Summary

Last updated: June 2020

Information for this site summary was adapted from JNCC’s scientific advice to Defra on West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ and incorporates any further information gathered since the advice was produced. Please refer to the Relevant Documentation section for further details and information sources.

 

Site overview

West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ lies approximately 50 km off the Dorset coast.  The site covers 138 km2, reaching depths of between around 50 m and 100 m, and has been designated for the protection of Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments. These sediments provide a habitat to a diverse range of species, living both on and within the seabed, including worms, bivalve molluscs, starfish and anemones. 

West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ was recommended to Defra as a new site to increase the connectivity in the MPA network of the Subtidal coarse sediment and Subtidal mixed sediments broad-scale habitats.  Data provided by British Geological Survey (BGS) helped Cefas to model a habitat map, with updated broad-scale habitat maps provided by UKSeaMap 2016.  Further habitat data have been offered through Cefas acoustic surveys, with directed ground-truth sampling (video and still images). 

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: 138 km2 (an area approximately the size of Sunderland).

Site depth range: 50.1–100 m

Charting Progress 2 Biogeographic Region: Eastern English Channel.

Site boundary description: The boundary of West of Wight-Barfleur MCZ is comprised of four geodesic lines, forming a simple rectangle delineated approximately along its southern edge by the median line between French and English waters. 

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Evidence

Last updated: June 2020

Site-specific data

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 JNCC’s Tranche Three MCZ pre-consultation and post-consultation scientific advice for offshore 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 JNCC-funded or collaborative surveys and some through other means. Data from these surveys provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site.

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Conservation Advice

Last updated: January 2021

Updated formal conservation advice for this MPA was produced in January 2021.  Further information on the approach used to develop this advice is available on our 'Conserving MPAs' webpage, along with a Glossary of Terms used in JNCC's conservation advice and a short video explaining how to use the conservation advice packages. 

You must refer to this advice if you:

  • undertake an MCZ assessment for a plan or project that could impact the site;
  • provide information for such an assessment;
  • respond to specific measures to further the conservation objectives for the site; and 
  • consider the need to put new or additional management measures in place.

You may also find it useful to refer to this advice if you:

  • carry out any other activity that could impact the site.

We will engage with stakeholders to identify any lessons which JNCC can learn from customers who have used the advice, with a view to continuing to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.

The following table provides an overview of the components of the conservation advice, and provides hyperlinks to each of the products for this MPA.  These elements together form JNCC’s formal conservation advice for this site and should be read in conjunction with each other.  This advice reflects the most up-to-date evidence held by JNCC (correct as of January 2021).  

Document Overview
Background Information

Explains the purpose of the advice and when it must be referred to.

Conservation Objectives

Supplementary Advice on the Conservation Objectives (SACO)

The Conservation Objectives set out the broad ecological aims for the site. JNCC provides supplementary advice in the SACO which is essential reading to support interpretation of these conservation objectives.

You can use these documents to assess the impacts of your planned activity on the important attributes of the site.

Conservation Advice Statements

These statements provide a summary of the Supplementary Advice on the Conservation Objectives (SACO).

  • Site condition presents our up-to-date understanding of the condition of features within the site;
  • Conservation benefits which the site can provide, these help you understand what is important about the site and why it needs protecting; and
  • Conservation measures which JNCC considers are needed to support achievement of the conservation objectives. These provide clarity around measures needed to support restoration or maintenance of the feature(s) within the site.
Advice on Operations

Provides information on the activities capable of affecting site integrity and therefore achievement of the site’s conservation objectives.

This is a starting point for determining potential management requirements. It does not take into account the intensity, frequency or cumulative impacts from activities taking place. It is simply to advise you of the possible adverse impacts that your activity can have on a MPA’s features.

Use the advice on operations to determine those pressures your activity causes that could harm the habitat and/or species features of the site.

These documents are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.

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Activities and Management

Last updated: June 2020

Management status: To be assessed.

Information on the management for the site can be found in the West of Wight-Barfleur 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:

  1. 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.
  2. The implementation of management measures – management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
  3. Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a site's conservation objectives.
  4. 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.

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Monitoring

Last updated:June 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.

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