Marine Conservation Zones

MCZs are designated under the Marine Coastal Access Act (MCAA) and facilitate in the conservation or assist in the recovery of a site.  They are being selected and phased in through a three tranche process.  Tranche 1 & 2 have been completed and we are currently waiting the announcement for Tranche 3 sites.

Within our district we currently have two designated MCZs.

Tranche 1: Aln Estuary

In November 2013, 27 sites were designated MCZs for Tranche 1, one of which is located within the NIFCA district, The Aln Estuary MCZ. This is the smallest of all MCZs proposed and is designated for its intertidal and rare estuarine habitats. All features are set to ‘maintain in favourable condition’.

No management has been implemented by NIFCA, as there is currently no commercial fishing activity occurring within the MCZ. There is a small salmon fishery within the estuary and this is managed by the Environment Agency. NIFCA conduct a bi annual survey within the estuary to collect data and monitor the sites importance as a fish nursery and European Eel occurrence.

For more information on this site, please follow link:


Tranche 2: Coquet to St Mary’s Island

Sites nominated in Tranche 2, were for broad- scale habitats to fill the gaps within the network where there was not currently enough representation within the MPA network.  37 sites were put forward for consideration, of which, 23 sites were selected and designated in January 2016.

We have one Tranche 2 MCZ designation, Coquet to St Mary’s Island MCZ. This site protects a range of intertidal and subtidal habitats, which are all set to ‘Maintain in favourable condition’.

Over the next 18 months, NIFCA will proceed with a formal evaluation of fishing activity interaction with the features of the site to assess if any management is required to ensure the conservation objectives of the site are met.

For more information on the site, please follow the link:


Tranche 3 sites have yet to be announced and proposals are expected end of 2016, beginning of 2017.