North Sea Marine Conservation Zones in Yorkshire and the Humber

Read about some of the MCZs recommended for Yorkshire and the Humber below and take a look at their location here using the numbers beside the site names.  Learn more about the site my clicking on its name and get involved by becoming its friend! Find out where all of the MCZ sites are here.

Runswick Bay (8)

Dead mens' fingers taken by Mark Thomas

Runswick Bay, located North West of Whitby, boasts a highly productive seabed. The MCZ is recommended for 7 out of the 12 different seafloor habitats found here, including rock, sediment and gravel.

Shallow rocky areas here are dominated by kelps and red seaweeds whereas deeper areas are encrusted in a living faunal turf of sponges, sea squirts, sea urchins and starfish. Being interspersed with sand and gravel, this area is also important for burrowing creatures such as worms. Runswick Bay also provides spawning and nursery grounds for many fish, including Herring, Sprat, Cod Whiting and Plaice. Harbour Porpoise are regularly recorded here alongside foraging seabirds, such as Kittiwakes.


Castle Ground (10)


Crystal sea slug taken by Kat Sanders

During the winter Filey Brigg supports 50% of the English Purple Sandpiper population, and. due to its close location to the Flamborough Headland, is important for foraging seabirds, such as Kittiwakes.Dotted underneath rocks are anemones and sponges, alongside Common Starfish and brittlestars. Benthic life here is extremely rich, with over 225 creatures belonging to 10 different families recorded on Filey Brigg itself. This site provides a window into the world beneath the waves, housing high numbers of crabs, seaweeds and molluscs. At 14.5km in length stretching from Scalby, North of Scarborough to Filey Brigg this area is characterised by intertidal rock and sediment habitats, including unique underboulder communities.


Holderness Inshore (12) 

Sunstar taken by Kat Sanders

Running from Skipsea to Spurn Point, the seafloor here boasts a wealth of diversity, including habitats of cobbles, mixed sediment, sand and chalk, alongside patches of peat and clay. This mosaic supports a dense coverage of hydroid and bryozoan turf, sponges and Ross Worm reef as well as many fish, including Tope and Smoothhound. A significant number of Crustaceans are also found here, including 8 species of crab. Harbour Porpoise and Minke Whales are often spotted from the shore passing through this site.

Holderness Inshore is also important for foraging seabirds as well as migrants. Within the southern region is ‘The Binks’, a geological feature forming the seaward extension of Spurn Point.


Holderness Offshore (13)

Lobster taken by Kat Sanders

Located 11.4km offshore from the Holderness Coast, and ranging between 10-50metres in depth. The seafloor consists of mixed and coarse sediment
interspersed with small cobbles and Ross Worm reef, creating a mosaic of habitats for attaching and burying creatures. This area is significant for crustaceans, including Edible Crab and Common Lobster.

To the south of the site is the Inner Silver Pit, a deep canyon with sloping walls covered in a living turf of brittlestars. Harbour Porpoise, Grey and Harbour Seals are regularly seen here foraging for food.


Markham's Triangle (14)

Sandeels taken by Mark Thomas

Located 137km offshore from the Holderness Coast, the seafloor ranges from 30-50metres in depth making it a relatively shallow site. The seafloor consists of both coarse sediment and sand, interspersed with small patches of rock and gravels. This supports many creatures that bury within or camouflage against the sediment, such as polychaete worms and bivalve molluscs. The Sandeels here form a key food source for Grey and Harbour Seals as well as Harbour Porpoise, regularly spotted passing through the site.

Markham’s Triangle lies adjacent to the Dutch Cleaverbank Special Area of Conservation. Through designation of this site a corridor will be created between Marine Protected Areas that affords some protection to mobile marine wildlife

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