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Marine Nature Reserves

A Marine Nature Reserve is a type of Marine Protected Area, an area of the sea protected from some damaging activities and impacts. Marine Protected Areas are a well-established tool for protecting marine habitats and species and have been successfully used all around the world to benefit marine conservation and fisheries.

The Isle of Man has had legislation for Marine Nature Reserves since 1990 and the first Marine Nature Reserve, Ramsey Marine Nature Reserve, was designated in 2011 as a result of the Manx Marine Protected Areas Project. The Isle of Man also has a network of Fisheries Closed Areas which act as Marine Protected Areas and protect some important marine species and habitats as well as promoting sustainable fisheries management.

In Protecting Our Natural Wealth, the Isle of Man’s Biodiversity Strategy, there is a commitment to protect 10% of Manx waters as Marine Nature Reserves and other effective designations by 2020. As of June 2016, approximately 3% of Manx waters are currently protected as Marine Protected Areas, with additional areas subject to seasonal or temporary protection.

Future Fisheries, the Isle of Man’s Fisheries Strategy, highlights the importance of ecosystem management, and emphasises the important role of Marine Protected Areas in protecting the marine environment and supporting sustainable fisheries.

DEFA continues to collect scientific information and work with stakeholders to ensure that important marine sites are protected and the Marine Nature Reserve designation process is ongoing.

There was a recent public consultation on the concept of zoning Manx inshore waters for marine conservation and fisheries. Information on this consultation can be found on the Isle of Man Government Consultation site.


Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture

Dr Peter Duncan

Fisheries Directorate

Thie Slieau Whallian

Foxdale Road

St John's

Isle of Man


Telephone:+44 1624 685884

Email:Send Email

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