What are marine protected areas?
Marine protected areas include a range of designations of domestic and European origin:
- Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) form a national network of sites that protect nationally important, rare or threatened habitats or species around the English coast. One of main duties of all IFCAs is to further the conservation targets of these sites (Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009).
- European Marine Sites form a network of protected areas across Europe, sometimes referred to as Natura 2000. They include two types of designation:
- Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which protect internationally important habitats and species (Habitats Directive);
- Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which protect rare and vulnerable birds and their supporting habitats (Birds Directive).