Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are zones of the sea and coast where resources (e.g. species and habitats) are legally protected from damage and disturbance. To ensure this protection, restrictions may apply to some activities in these areas. The UK Government is committed to establishing a well-managed ecologically coherent network of MPAs each designated to meet specific conservation goals.

Types of MPAs

The main types of MPAs in English waters are:

  • European Marine Sites (EMS) also known as Natura 2000 Sites which are composed of :
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
  • Protects habitats and species listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive.
  • Special Protection Areas (SPAs)
  • Protects bird species listed in the Birds Directive
  • Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)
  • Designated under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MaCAA)

MPAs within the NIFCA district:

  • Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
  • Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC
  • Special Protection Areas (SPAs)
  • Coquet Island SPA
  • Farne Islands SPA
  • Lindisfarne SPA
  • Northumbria Coast SPA
  • Northumbria Marine pSPA
  • Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)
  • Aln Estuary MCZ (Tranche 1 site)
  • Coquet to St Mary’s MCZ (Tranche 2 site)

Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast EMS is made up of the components of two separate MPAs:

  • Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC
  • Lindisfarne SPA

Some of the NIFCA coastline is also designated as RAMSAR sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature Reserves (NNR).

Click here for an interactive map of MPAs

NIFCA’s Role

NIFCA have a responsibility under the MaCAA to ensure the exploitation of sea fisheries resourses is carried out in a sustainable way and to ensure all the objective of the MCZs within the district are furthered (link to IFCA Aims and Objectives).

As part of DEFRA’s Revised Approach to the Management of Commercial Fisheries in European Marine Sites, NIFCA have a legal obligation to ensure fishing activities occurring within an EMS do not have an adverse effect on the site and are managed in compliance with Article 6 of the Habitats Directive.

As part of this process NIFCA are currently completing Habitats Regulations Assessments for all feature/gear interactions which occur within the district. This process highlighted that both the use of mobile gear on Reefs and bait digging on Seagrass within the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast EMS to be “Red Risk” and requiring Management. NIFCA therefore created Byelaws 7 (Mobile Gear) and 8 (Seagrass Protection) prohibiting the occurrence of these activities within the site.

http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-23

http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-162

Link to Magic Maps: http://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx?startTopic=Designations&activelayer=sssiIndex&query=HYPERLINK%3D%271002926%27