Our seas contain some of the most diverse wildlife and habitats in Europe.
We are committed to ensuring our seas are:
- productive, and
- biologically diverse
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are an important way of protecting species and habitats. They will also help us to achieve Good Environmental Status in our waters, through the UK Marine Strategy.
Wales has 139 MPAs covering 69% of our inshore waters (up to 12 nautical miles). There are several types of MPAs used in Wales, which offer different levels of protection.
Some examples include:
Each MPA is underpinned by legislation. This includes Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) interactive map shows our MPA network.
Marine Protected Area Management
We are working closely with other groups to manage our network of MPAs, including
We take a 5 step approach to identify and manage an MPA:
- site identification
- threat and impact identification
- management of the MPA
- monitoring of the MPA
- assessing the MPA
One way of helping us to achieve a well-managed MPA network is through the Marine Protection Area Management Action Plan. This annual document outlines key actions that will be taken by different groups. The actions deliver:
- research projects
- initiatives, or
- direct action
at an MPA or national level.