Beachy Head East MCZ

Beachy Head East is characterised by a highly biodiverse sandstone/chalk reef system. Between Beachy Head point and Holywell, this chalk reef extends from the subtidal area up to the coast and white cliffs, forming sheltered rockpools at low tide that support rich littoral chalk communities. The soft chalk is pitted by holes created by rock-boring piddocks, a type of bivalve mollusc. Once empty, these holes can also house crabs, sponges, anemones and worms. Marine chalk is a globally rare habitat, a large proportion of which is contained in the UK. The largest underwater chalk seascapes are predominantly found in Kent and Sussex, including within the Beachy Head East site.
Short-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus hippocampus) and ross worm reefs (Sabellaria spinulosa) are also found within this site. Ross worms build tubes from sand and shell
fragments. Large colonies can form reefs, stabilising the seabed, providing shelter for other creatures and boosting local biodiversity.
The site is also considered an important nursery area for herring, plaice and Dover sole. Plaice and Dover sole survive by camouflaging themselves in subtidal sand allowing them to avoid predators.

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The area has now be proposed as a designated Marine Conservation Zone and this is likely to mean that restrictions on bottom trawling with heavy gear will come into affect once the consultstion is completed. The propsal has the support of the local under 10m fleets based in Hastings and Eastbourne. For a fact sheet and more information click the links below.

Hastings Bexhill and Eastbourne proposed Marine Conservation Zone copy