Solway Firth SAC / Allonby Bay pMCZ Rocky Scar Grounds and Annex I Reef Drop-down Video Survey (NECR391)

The Solway Firth is a large, complex estuary and one of the more important and least industrialised estuarine areas in Europe (JNCC 2015a). The Solway Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC) was designated under the Natura 2000 programme due to the following Annex I qualifying features; estuaries; sandbanks which are slightly covered by seawater all the time; mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide; Atlantic salt meadows; and Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand. In addition, present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection, is the Annex I habitat ‘reefs.’
The Allonby Bay pMCZ extends over 39 km2 of Cumbria’s coastline up to 5.5 km offshore, encompassing the entirety of Allonby Bay. The pMCZ is proposed in order to provide protection to a number of features of conservation interest including blue mussel beds, honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata) reefs and peat and clay exposures as well as a number of broadscale habitats.
In order to inform site condition monitoring, Seastar Survey Ltd. were contracted by Natural England to undertake a drop-down camera survey of both the Solway Firth SAC and the Allonby Bay pMCZ in order to define the distribution and extent of any subtidal rocky scar grounds communities present.

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NECR391 - Edition 1: Solway Firth SAC / Allonby Bay pMCZ Rocky Scar Grounds and Annex I Reef Drop-down Video Survey, PDF, 2.0 MB 2021/11/16