A recommended Marine Conservation Zone off the coast of Scarborough has been put forward for public consultation in 2015.
The area, known as Compass Rose, is one of 37 zones that are being put forward for consideration.
Compass Rose is located 30km out to sea and is approximately 50 metres deep throughout the area. The seafloor consists of sand, coarse sediment and rock and is home to several species of crustacean.
Located within the site are approximately 6.5km2 of hard rocky ground known as “Heartbreak Ridge”.
Compass Rose provides spawning and nursery grounds for fish including plaice, herring, lemon sole, sand eel and sprat.
During the summer months the area captures the most northerly section of the Flamborough Front, an upwelling of nutrients where the cooler northern and warmer southern waters of the North Sea mix, providing an important food source for marine mammals.
Other zones being put forward for consultation in this latest phase are Runswick Bay and the Holderness Inshore - stretching from Skipsea to Spurn Point.
North Sea Living Seas manager, Kirsten Carter, said: “We have been engaged with the process to establish Marine Conservation Zones since 2009 and I am delighted these Yorkshire zones shall be included in the second public consultation in 2015. The North Sea has a wealth of marine habitats that provide year round homes to all kinds of marine species.
“The Living Seas Centre based on South Landing at Flamborough is a fantastic education centre where you can find out more about our North Sea wildlife and sign up to support these recommended Marine Conservation Zones. Otherwise visit our website for all the details www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZmap .”
Marine Conservation Zones are vital to protect and restore the marine environment. Such areas are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential following decades of neglect and decline.
They are also needed for mobile species – such as whales, dolphins, basking sharks and seabirds – in order to create a network that is truly ecologically coherent.