This GIS layer describes the boundaries of 5 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs); 4 were designated in December 2016, under the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 and Strangford Lough Marine Nature Reserve automatically became an MCZ under this section 13 of the afore mentioned legislation.
An MCZ is a new type of Marine Protected Area (MPA), designated in the Northern Ireland Inshore Region to protect nationally important habitats, species and geological/geomorphological features, while fully taking into account any economic, cultural or social consequences of doing so. Rathlin, Waterfoot, Outer Belfast Lough and Carlingford Lough MCZs were designated on the 12th December 2016 after a full consultation process.
The MCZ polygons were digitised to bound the protected features identified within the MCZ using the guidelines for MCZ designation (https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/guidance-selection-and-designation-marine-conservation-zones-mczs-northern-Ireland).
The boundaries are subject to change if new verified evidence comes to light regarding the location or extent of the MCZ features which can include including habitats, species and geological/geomorphological features.
Further information can be found at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/marine-conservation-zones-northern-ireland-inshore-region-0 https://portal.medin.org.uk/portal/start.php#details?tpc=010_81af4f4d6a75a80a6eda4dfdcb305ea8