Marine Protected Areas

Welsh seas are important to us and contain some of the most diverse and dynamic wildlife and habitats in Europe.

Home to an array of marine life, including dolphins and seals, rocky reefs and seagrass beds. The sea is entwined in Welsh culture, used for work and well-being by many people every year. It is important these activities work within a sustainable marine environment.

In Wales, we have a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These offer a level of protection for selected habitats and species.

Wales has 139 MPAs covering 69% of our inshore waters (up to 12 nautical miles). There are several types of MPAs used in Wales, which offer different levels of protection.

Some examples include:

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) interactive map shows our MPA network.

You can find further information about Marine Protected Areas and how they are managed on