Highly Protected Marine Areas

© Paula Lightfoot

Highly Protected Marine Areas are new designations

Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are areas of the sea and shoreline that have strict measures in place to remove all human activities from a certain area.  The intention of HPMAs is to allow for marine ecosystem recovery to a more natural state, similar to No Take Zones.

HPMAs, including definition and management, are still in development.  A suite of five inshore and offshore pilot sites have been identified and a public consultation is currently underway.  None of the initial  pilot HPMAs are in the Yorkshire region.

HPMA Consultation

How will HPMAs be managed?

HPMAs are still being developed by government, in consultation with stakeholders and the general public.  It is expected that management will be designed with reference to ecological, social and economic criteria, to ensure that sites support both the natural environment and local communities.

The ongoing consultation suggests that HPMAs will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).  In-line with other marine protected areas, partnership working is likely to form a key part of HPMA management.  Working collaboratively allows organisations to share knowledge and resources across a wide range of different sectors who all have a responsibility to care for the marine environment.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Features of HPMAs

Specific HPMA features will be dependent on the habitats and species within a particular location.  These new designations will complement the existing MPA network by delivering different or enhanced benefits to the designated features.  This is likely to involve restriction of activities to allow habitats and species to ‘recover’.

HPMAs will take a ‘whole site approach’ meaning that all features within the boundary will be designated for protected.  This is different to other MPAs where only specific habitats or species in a certain area are identified for protection.

Lindisfarne Pilot HPMA Factsheet

Linked projects and further information