South Dorset MPA

 

Status: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)Farnes East MCZ Boundary

 

South Dorset  MCZ is a joint inshore and offshore site, 30-60m deep, located approximately 17.5km south of St Albans Head, to the south-east of Swanage. Natural England and JNCC are responsible for the advising on the site’s protected features within and outside 12nm respectively.

 

South Dorset MCZ protects three seabed habitats, moderate energy circalittoral rock, subtidal coarse sediment and subtidal chalk. The MCZ is important as it protects exposed outcrops of subtidal chalk in relatively deep water (over 50m) despite this habitat usually found in shallower water (5-20m) on the south-east and eastern coasts of the UK.

More detailed site information can be found on the Summary tab.

Map displaying MPA boundary and associated

protected feature data. Further data will be

available in due course. Visit the JNCC MPA Mapper

 to further view and explore data for this MPA.

 

   

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

 

Protected features

EUNIS Code: Protected Features Feature Type

General Management Approach
(to achieve conservation objective)

A4.2 Moderate energy circalittoral rock Broad-scale habitat       

Recover to favourable condition

A5.1 Subtidal coarse sediment Broad-scale habitat       

Maintain in favourable condition

Subtidal chalk Habitat feature of conservation importance

Recover to favourable condition

 

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 at the top of the page and in JNCC's MPA map, with the evidence underpinning available in the Evidence tab.

 
Conservation objectives
The overarching conservation objectives for the designated features of all protected sites in UK offshore waters is to ensure that they either remain in or reach favourable condition. The ability of a designated feature to remain in, or reach favourable condition can be affected by its sensitivity to pressures. These pressures are associated with activities taking place within or in close proximity to a protected site. Specific information on the conservation objectives relating to this MCZ is provided in the Conservation Advice tab.
 

Site timeline

The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of South Dorset MCZ.  More information on the sites key milestones can be found within the Relevant Documentation and in JNCCs advice on offshore marine conservation zones considered for consultation in 2015.

 

South Dorset timeline


Relevant Documentation

The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to South Dorset 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 South Dorset MCZ, and will reflect any additional information gathered since these documents were produced. Further information about the MCZ site selection process and historic MCZ advice is available on JNCCs MCZ pages.

 

 



Summary

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

This site summary was adapted from the MCZ Site Report and incorporates any information gathered since this document was produced. Please refer to the report for further details and information sources.

 

Site overview

South Dorset MCZ is located approximately 17.5km south of St Alban’s Head, to the south-east of Swanage. The site lies approximately 4km to the west of Wight-Barfleur cSAC/SCI, and 5km south of  Studland to Portland SAC. The seabed in the MCZ is characterised by circalittoral rock with overlaying deposits of subtidal coarse sediment of varying depth. The eastern half of the site has longitudinal furrows of alternating cobbles and gravel, oriented in the direction of the tide. Bryozoans such as the sea mat (Electra pilosa) and hornwrack (Flustra foliacea), sea squirts such as orange sea grapes (Stolonica socialis) and the baked bean ascidian (Dendrodoa grossularia), and encrusting sponges dominate rocky areas within the site. Crustaceans such as the long-clawed porcelain crab (Pisidia longicornis) and common spider crab (Maja brachydactyla) hide in the crevices and cobbles in furrows. In addition, the great scallop (Pecten maximus), common sunstar (Crossaster papposus) and goose foot starfish (Anseropoda placenta) can be found in areas of subtidal coarse sediment, and the small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) has also been found at the site.  

 

The site currently has three designated features: Moderate energy circalittoral rock, subtidal coarse sediment and subtidal chalk. Subtidal chalk is typically found on south-eastern and eastern coasts of the UK, but this site protects the only known example of this habitat in deeper water  and beyond 12 nautical miles.

 

South Dorset MCZ was originally recommended by the Finding Sanctuary regional project in 2011 to help meet the broad-scale habitat targets set and due to the occurrence of subtidal chalk within the site. South Dorset MCZ was designated in 2013 for subtidal coarse sediment and subtidal chalk. Since the site was recommended, further data analysis and an additional site survey in 2013 confirmed the presence of moderate energy circalittoral rock and subtidal chalk within the site. A new modelled habitat map based on the 2013 site survey data was also produced that revised the extent of subtidal mixed sediments and subtidal coarse sediment within the site.

 

A further survey was carried out by Natural England in 2015, identifying the presence of high energy circalittoral rock within the MCZ. This feature is being recommended as an additional protected feature for the site in Tranche Three. The details of this recommendation, data from the survey and reports produced of which will be available in due course. Further detail on the evidence for this MCZ can be found on the Evidence tab.

 

Site location: Coordinates for this MCZ can be found in the designation order in the Relevant Documentation.

Site area: 193km2, approximately one third of the size of the New Forest (571km2).

Site depth range: 35 - 59m..

Charting Progress 2 biogeographic region: Eastern Channel.

 

Site boundary description: The site is a simple polygon with boundary lines running north to south and east to west in line with the MCZ projects ecological network guidance. The boundary of South Dorset MCZ was developed by the Finding Sanctuary regional project and has not changed since it was recommended in 2011. The site boundary was guided by information on renewable energy companies and the round 3 wind farm licensing area, and intersects the 12 nm territorial seas boundary line.

 

Evidence

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

A full overview of the data used to support site identification and information on confidence in feature presence and extent is available in Natural England's 2013 Tranche One post-consultation advice and their 2015 Tranche Two post-consultation advice for proposed features for designation. Some of the data for this MCZ has been collected through JNCC-funded or collaborative surveys, with other data obtained through other data sourcing. The data gathered provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site. Additional survey data will be added to the JNCC MPA map in due course.

 

Survey and data gathering

  • South Dorset MCZ Baseline Monitoring Survey (2015) - Cefas-led survey that aimed to establish monitoring sample stations for the site and collect further data to determine the extent of subtidal chalk in the site. Video, images, acoustic data and grab samples were collected across the site. Reporting is underway and will be made available in due course.
  • South Dorset MCZ Survey (2013) - JNCC and Natural England collaborated with Cefas on two MCZ site verification surveys to South Dorset MCZ, funded through the MB0120 Defra data collection project. Video, images, acoustic data and grab samples were collected across the site.

 

Data analysis reports

  • EUSeaMap (2016) - Provides supporting information on the presence and extent of moderate energy circalittoral rock and subtidal coarse sediment from a predictive seabed habitat map of European waters.
  • South Dorset MCZ MB0120 site report (2014) - Cefas undertook analysis of the data collected on the South Dorset MCZ survey (2013).  The data, analysed as part of the MB0120 Defra contract, led to the creation of a revised habitat map that has been used to inform the presence of broad-scale habitats within the MCZ.

 

Additional relevant literature

References for further supporting scientific literature consulted during the identification of this site can be found in Natural England’s 2013 post-consultation, 2015 pre-consultation and 2016 post-consultation advice.  Please be aware that although these sources contain information in relation to this MPA, they do not necessarily represent the views of JNCC.

 

Knowledge gaps
If you are aware of any additional data not listed here or scientific papers relevant to this site, please contact JNCC.

 

Conservation Advice

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Updated joint conservation advice packages available after March 2018.

 

Conservation objectives
Conservation objectives set out the desired state for the protected feature(s) of an MPA.

 

The conservation objectives for the protected features of an MPA are useful if you are:

  • Planning measures to conserve the site and its protected features;
  • Monitoring the condition of the protected features; and/or
  • Developing, proposing or assessing an activity, plan or project that may affect the protected features of the site.

 

The conservation objectives for the protected features of South Dorset MCZ are subject to natural change, the moderate energy circalittoral rock, subtidal coarse sediment and subtidal chalk features are to remain in or be brought into favourable condition, such that their:

  • Extent is stable or increasing; and
  • Structures and functions, quality, and the composition of their characteristic biological communities are such as to ensure that it is in a condition which is healthy and not deteriorating.

 

More information regarding the conservation objectives for the protected features of Fulmar MCZ is available in the designation order and amended designation order.

 

In addition to the conservation objectives, General Management Approaches (GMAs) have been set by JNCC to provide a view as to whether a feature needs to be maintained in or be brought into favourable condition (i.e. recover), based on our knowledge about each features condition.

 

The GMAs for the protected features of the MPA are:

  • Moderate energy circalittoral rock: Recover to favourable condition;
  • Subtidal coarse sediment: Maintain in favourable condition; and
  • Subtidal chalk: Recover to favourable condition.

 

More information on the GMAs for the features in South Dorset MCZ is provided in Natural England’s 2013 post-consultation advice and their 2016 post-consultation advice to Defra. For more information on the GMA for MCZs see Defra's MCZ designation explanatory note.

 

Advice on operations 
Section 127 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) states that JNCC may provide advice and guidance regarding matters capable of damaging or otherwise affecting the protected features of an MCZ. Towards this, JNCC has published the following advice on activities that are capable of damaging or otherwise affecting protected features in MCZs:


JNCC also provides a list of activities occurring within the Fulmar MCZ and information on management within the activities and management tab. JNCC has provided this to aid the cumulative assessment of impacts of human activities within the MCZ.  While every attempt has been made to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date, the list is not exhaustive or definitive. For example, the list does not include activities occurring offsite that may also be capable of affecting the protected features.

 

For the most up-to-date information on the biological communities present within the site and their spatial distribution, please see the evidence tab. Sensitivity information for the protected features within the site can be found in a technical report commissioned by Defra to support the MCZ designation process.

 
The information contained within the evidence tab, the activities and management tab, the technical report and the advice listed above on activities which are capable of damaging or otherwise affecting the protected features in MCZs are useful if you are: 
  • Carrying out any activity that may impact the protected features of the site and need to find out how to operate within the law;
  • An authority providing advice on specific proposals; and/or
  • An authority responsible for putting management measures in place.

 

Our scientific understanding of the ecology of the protected features of the site and how activities can affect them may change over time. Similarly the activities taking place within the site may also change. JNCCs conservation advice will be kept under review and will be periodically updated to reflect this. Further information on JNCCs conservation advice work is available on the offshore MPA conservation advice webpage.

 

Activities and Management

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Management status: Progressing towards being well managed

 

The vulnerability assessment conducted for this site suggests the Moderate energy circalittoral rock and Subtidal chalk features are unlikely to be moving towards their conservation objectives, while the Subtidal coarse sediment feature may be achieving or moving towards its conservation objective. Directed site condition monitoring is needed to improve our confidence in this assessment. Progress is ongoing with regards to the recommendation of a fisheries management proposal to the European Commission.

 

This site forms part of the UKs contribution to the OSPAR commission’s network of MPAs and the Emerald network established under the Bern Convention. As the UK is a member of the OSPAR commission, JNCC are committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is ‘well-managed’ by 2020.

 

JNCC consider ‘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 sites 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.

 

The sub-sections that follow provide an account of the progress of South Dorset MCZ around each of these four stages in the MPA management cycle.

 

The documentation of appropriate management information

  • The conservation objectives and advice on activities capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected feature of this site are available under the conservation advice tab.
  • JNCC are in the process of improving our MPA conservation advice packages. Further information is available on our conservation advice pages.
  • Spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected feature of this MPA is available via JNCCs MPA mapper.
  • JNCC are in the process of developing downloadable MPA data packages where appropriate permissions to share datasets are in place.

 

The implementation of management measures

This section details progress towards the implementation of management measures for activities considered capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected features of the site. The protected features of the site are considered to be sensitive to pressures associated with fishing and ‘licensable’ activities.

 

Fisheries

  • Vessel monitoring data indicate that towing of mobile demersal gear and some pelagic trawling also occur withinin the MCZ.
  • In the 6-12 nautical mile (nm) portion of the site, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) can introduce measures (e.g. bylaws) to manage fishing activity where appropriate. Such measures would be developed following individual site assessments and subsequent stakeholder engagement. Where other Member States (OMS) have historic fishing access rights (in this case the French fleet), any management proposals would need to follow processes laid out in Article 18 of the revised EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
  • The portion of the site beyond 12 nm will be exclusively managed under the CFP. In accordance with Article 18, requests for management will be developed jointly between the UK Government and any Member States with a direct management interest in the area affected. MMO are the lead authority regarding the implementation of, and compliance with, any measures to managing fishing activity. Further information on progress is available via MMO webpages

 

Licensable activities

  • Whilst licensable activities such as oil and gas exploration and production do not take place within this MPA, any future proposals would be managed in accordance with the clauses set out under Section 127 of The Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009). Under this clause, JNCC have a statutory responsibility to advise the regulator on developments that are capable of affecting (other than insignificantly) the protected features of the MPA and that may hinder the achievement of the sites conservation objectives. JNCC consider that the existing marine licensing process is sufficient to ensure the management of licensable activities taking place, or that could take place in the future, on the protected features of this MPA.
  • For further information, please see the MMO's guidance on marine conservation zones and marine licensing.
  • Further information on JNCC's role in the provision of advice for licensed activities in the UK offshore area is available on JNCC's offshore industries advice webpage

 

Shipping

  • The site is located between shipping lanes and is subject to a relatively low level of shipping. Under international law, ships have a right of passage, including through MPAs (unless management specifies the restriction of ship transiting through an International Maritime Organisation measure). The pressures associated with shipping activity within South Dorset MCZ are not considered likely to impact the protected features of the site.

 

Ministry of Defence activity

  • The site is within a Ministry of Defence (MoD) exercise area. The MoD has incorporated all designated MPAs into their Environmental Protection Guidelines (Maritime) and wider Marine Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Tool. These guidelines are used to manage MoD activity to minimise the associated risks to the environment.

 

Recreational activity

  • A Royal Yachting Association (RYA) cruising route crosses the eastern part of the site. Recreational use data indicates the site could also be subject to recreational boat based sea angling and scuba diving.

 

Wrecks

  • Seven wrecks have been recorded by the UK Hydrographic Office within the site. 

 

Site condition monitoring

A baseline condition monitoring survey took place in 2015 to establish monitoring stations for the site. Video, images, acoustic data and grab samples were collected across the site. Reporting is underway and will be made available under the Monitoring tab in due course.

 

Progression towards conservation objectives

No long-term condition monitoring data is available to determine whether the MPA is moving towards or has reached its conservation objectives. The vulnerability assessment conducted for this site suggests the Moderate energy circalittoral rock and Subtidal chalk features are unlikely to be moving towards their conservation objectives, while the Subtidal coarse sediment feature may be achieving or moving towards its conservation objective. Directed site condition monitoring is needed to improve our confidence in this assessment. Further information will be provided under the Assessment tab as it becomes available. Progress is ongoing with regards to the recommendation of a fisheries management proposal to the European Commission.

 

    Monitoring

     

    Last updated: October 2017

     

    JNCC is currently leading on the development of a strategy for biodiversity monitoring across all UK waters, to include MPA monitoring. 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 the 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 South Dorset MCZ will be provided when it becomes available.

     

    Assessment

     

    Last updated: October 2017

     

    Assessments of the condition of designated features in offshore MPAs are required to report against our legal obligations. Ideally these assessments are based on observed data, and then measured against targets for pre-defined indicators. However, for MPAs in offshore waters the appropriate information is not always available particularly for seabed habitats, which are the main type of designated features within offshore MPAs. 

     

    To address these challenges, JNCC has been an active partner in developing new approaches and tools for the assessment of habitats and species for a variety of national and international status reports. These tools cover methods for producing interim assessments of site features and their responses to pressures, as well as developing more robust indicators for determining condition of the features. The reports include the second cycle of the conservation status assessment reports under the EU Habitats Directive, Charting Progress 2 and the OSPAR quality status report. JNCC continues to develop and pilot tools for the assessment of marine habitats and species in offshore waters to improve the quality and transparency of our assessments, and contribute to the monitoring of marine biodiversity in UK waters.

     

    Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) , JNCC is required to report to ministers on the degree to which the conservation objectives of the protected features of MCZs have been achieved. The act also requires a report every six years from 2012 setting out how MCZs have performed against their conservation objectives, as well as the effectiveness of the network. These assessments will also feed into six yearly reports on the state of the marine environment under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which aims to achieve good environmental status by 2020.

     

     

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