JNCC Offshore Survey Blog

As part of our statutory responsibility to recommend Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK offshore waters (beyond 12 nautical miles), JNCC gathers information to help support these recommendations; either by searching and retrieving existing information, or through collaborative or commissioned survey. Once these MPAs have been identified, further information gathered through survey may be required to deliver management measures and conservation advice. JNCC survey work takes place throughout the year and our staff who join the research vessels will blog throughout the survey sharing information and images from the survey.


JNCC Offshore Survey blog

  • Greater Haig Fras MCZ #Blog2

    Greater Haig Fras Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is an offshore Marine Protected Area off the Cornish Coastline which covers 2,041km2of seabed, larger than the size of West Sussex county. Greater Haig Fras MCZ is around 120km from the UK coastline and is designated for its sediment habitats, which range from fine muds to coarse and mixed sediments.

    This site was designated in 2016 to afford protection to many of the species that live on and in the sediment. These species, such as the mud shrimp and Norway lobster alongside many others, help oxygen to filter deeper into the seabed and through this release nutrients back into the water column. Because of this, the site is also designated to protect Sea-Pen and Burrowing Megafauna communities, which are included on the OSPAR Threatened and/or Declining Habitat list for the North-East Atlantic.

    JNCC and Cefas previously visited this site in 2012, and used similar methods to those we plan to use for this survey collecting sediment samples and images for later analysis.

    Sediment seen at Greater Haig Fras in 2012 © JNCC/Cefas 

    Norway lobster a burrowing species ©JNCC/Cefas

    Survey Fun Fact:

    Mud habitats protected within this site have a particle size of between 3.9 – 62.5µm in diameter, similar to the size range between a human red blood cell and a human hair.

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