UK Marine Protected Area network statistics


JNCC calculates statistics for the whole of the UK MPA network to assess progress in MPA designation.

UK waters UK waters area (km2) Number of MPAs MPA area (km2)

UK waters covered

by MPAs (%)

All UK waters 884,859 314 209,185 24
Inshore 163,388 276 58,550 36
Offshore 721,472 57 150,635 21

Key information:

  • UK waters:
  • MPA designation types included: Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) with marine components, Special Protection Areas (SPAs) with marine components, and Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPAs).
  • Some MPAs cross the inshore/offshore boundary. These MPAs contribute to both the inshore and offshore MPA counts, so these counts cannot be summed to give the total MPA count. The total number of MPAs figure should be taken from the All UK waters row.
  • All area calculations on Europe Albers Equal Area Conic projection (ESRI:102013), with standard parallels of 50.2N and 61.2N, using transformations: ED_1950_To_WGS_1984_18 (EPSG:1311) and OSGB_1936_To_WGS_1984_Petroleum (EPSG:1314).
  • MPA boundaries have been cut to mean high water mark (mean high water springs in Scotland) to exclude terrestrial areas, using OSMasterMap data for Eng/Wal/Scot and OSNI 2008 1:50,000 for NI.
  • Area/percentage figures refer only to the whole of MPAs, they are not refined to management zones.
  • English inshore waters contain 121 MPAs covering 46% of this region (23,544 km2). English offshore waters contain 26 MPAs covering 33% of this region (59,208 km2). Altogether, there are 136 MPAs covering 36% of English inshore and offshore waters combined (82,752 km2).


Last updated: February 2019