The Isles of Scilly MCZs are in fact a collection of inshore sites located around the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands located approximately 45 km’s south-west of the Cornish coast. The MCZs consist of 11 separate sites covering a total area of over 30 km2. The 11 sites are Bishop to Crim; Bristows to the Stones; Gilstone to Gorregan; Hanjague to Deep Ledge; Higher Town; Lower Ridge to Innisvouls; Men a Vaur to White Island; Peninnis to Dry Ledge; Plympton to Spanish Ledge; Smith Sound Tide Swept Channel and Tean.
The Isles of Scilly MCZs span a broad range of physical conditions which support an exceptionally high diversity of habitats and species. The depth of the seabed varies considerably across the 11 areas extending from the mean high water mark to depths of up to 70 m in places and the sites encompass a wide variety of marine habitats and their associated species.
The importance of the marine environment found here has been previously recognised through the designation of the Isles of Scilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and 10 of the 11 sites lie within this designated area. The Isles of Scilly MCZs complement this existing SAC designation by offering protection to species and habitats that are not protected by the SAC.
Designated as part of the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the UK. In November 2013 the minister announced the designation of 27 MCZs in English inshore and English and Welsh offshore waters and outlined plans for future zones. You can see the location of the 27 designated sites and find out further information about each site at JNCC Interactive Map.
Marine Conservation Zones protect areas that are important to conserve the diversity of nationally rare, threatened and representative habitats and species. Designation of these zones takes social and economic factors into account, alongside the best available scientific evidence.
Management measures will be put in place by the regulators (Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs)) on a site by site basis. Natural England and the JNCCwill advise the regulators about the vulnerability of the features included within the Designation Order and activities that are currently occurring within the site that will have a negative impact on the protected features.
The Isles of Scilly is also designated as a "Heritage Coast" and "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty".