Studland Bay MCZ Engagement

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Why is Studland Bay a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)?

Studland Bay became a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in May 2019. This means that specific features within this area are protected and, where necessary, regulators manage marine activities. The protection of this area will help to deliver the government's vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The designated features of Studland Bay MCZ are seagrass beds, long-snouted seahorses, subtidal sand and intertidal coarse sediment.

The seagrass beds in Studland Bay provide a number of vital functions. They provide cover and shelter for a variety of species, such as seahorses, pipefish and crabs. Notably, they provide a nursery ground for a number of commercially important fish, including bass, sole and plaice. Seagrass beds also act as a sink for atmospheric carbon and stabilise sediments.

The resulting benefits of protecting this area to people include aiding prevention of coastal erosion, supporting commercial fisheries, helping to combat climate change and providing an attractive environment for tourism and recreation.

What has happened so far?

Since becoming an MCZ, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been working hard to understand the levels of the different activities taking place in the bay, and the conservation status of its protected species and habitats. The MMO compiled a detailed assessment of the impacts of relevant activities which was subject to informal public consultation as part of a call for evidence. The results of the MMO's draft assessment of the site indicated that anchoring, mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling required consideration for management (marine non-licensable activities).

Between 28 October and 15 December 2020, the MMO held a call for evidence seeking views on the draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment. Approximately 500 responses were received through online surveys or by email, providing valuable information to inform the MMO's decisions on management to ensure the necessary level of protection for the features of Studland Bay MCZ. The MMO has reviewed all information received and are proposing the next steps for the management of Studland Bay MCZ:

  • For mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling, no further restrictions will be implemented at this stage.
  • For anchoring, management measures may be required to avoid negative impacts on the site.

How can I have my say on what management measures are put in place?

Dorset Coast Forum have hosted two engagement events, one for representatives from key stakeholder groups and one public event. The public event held on the 25th March 2021 covered:

  • A summary what has happened so far
  • An outline of proposed management measures
  • Feedback from the recent stakeholder meeting
  • Opportunity to ask questions

Thank you to everyone who attended the public engagement online Zoom event on 25th March. We hope you found the event useful and informative.

The presentation slides from the event are now available and can be viewed here

A 30 minute question and answer session took place at the event, with over 200 questions and comments received. We are processing all the questions and polling votes taken at the event and they will be summarised in a report after further engagement is completed.

What are the next steps?

The MMO are reviewing all the feedback so far and the Dorset Coast Forum will be in touch with further details about the next steps. There will be further opportunity for you to have your say on the MCZ management measures for Studland Bay.


Details of the next steps will be updated on this webpage.

Why is Studland Bay a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)?

Studland Bay became a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in May 2019. This means that specific features within this area are protected and, where necessary, regulators manage marine activities. The protection of this area will help to deliver the government's vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The designated features of Studland Bay MCZ are seagrass beds, long-snouted seahorses, subtidal sand and intertidal coarse sediment.

The seagrass beds in Studland Bay provide a number of vital functions. They provide cover and shelter for a variety of species, such as seahorses, pipefish and crabs. Notably, they provide a nursery ground for a number of commercially important fish, including bass, sole and plaice. Seagrass beds also act as a sink for atmospheric carbon and stabilise sediments.

The resulting benefits of protecting this area to people include aiding prevention of coastal erosion, supporting commercial fisheries, helping to combat climate change and providing an attractive environment for tourism and recreation.

What has happened so far?

Since becoming an MCZ, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been working hard to understand the levels of the different activities taking place in the bay, and the conservation status of its protected species and habitats. The MMO compiled a detailed assessment of the impacts of relevant activities which was subject to informal public consultation as part of a call for evidence. The results of the MMO's draft assessment of the site indicated that anchoring, mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling required consideration for management (marine non-licensable activities).

Between 28 October and 15 December 2020, the MMO held a call for evidence seeking views on the draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment. Approximately 500 responses were received through online surveys or by email, providing valuable information to inform the MMO's decisions on management to ensure the necessary level of protection for the features of Studland Bay MCZ. The MMO has reviewed all information received and are proposing the next steps for the management of Studland Bay MCZ:

  • For mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling, no further restrictions will be implemented at this stage.
  • For anchoring, management measures may be required to avoid negative impacts on the site.

How can I have my say on what management measures are put in place?

Dorset Coast Forum have hosted two engagement events, one for representatives from key stakeholder groups and one public event. The public event held on the 25th March 2021 covered:

  • A summary what has happened so far
  • An outline of proposed management measures
  • Feedback from the recent stakeholder meeting
  • Opportunity to ask questions

Thank you to everyone who attended the public engagement online Zoom event on 25th March. We hope you found the event useful and informative.

The presentation slides from the event are now available and can be viewed here

A 30 minute question and answer session took place at the event, with over 200 questions and comments received. We are processing all the questions and polling votes taken at the event and they will be summarised in a report after further engagement is completed.

What are the next steps?

The MMO are reviewing all the feedback so far and the Dorset Coast Forum will be in touch with further details about the next steps. There will be further opportunity for you to have your say on the MCZ management measures for Studland Bay.


Details of the next steps will be updated on this webpage.