Natural England Conservation Advice for Marine Protected Areas
Isles of Scilly: Bristows to the Stones MCZ

Natural England guidance

This site collection contains Natural England’s conservation advice for this site. It fulfils Natural England’s responsibility under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, to give advice on how to further the conservation objectives for the site, identify the activities that are capable of affecting the designated features and the processes which they are dependent upon.

Natural England’s conservation advice for this site is made up of a number of components. You will need to consider: Additional information for consideration:

Site information

Overarching site: Isles of Scilly MCZs
Site name: Isles of Scilly: Bristows to the Stones MCZ
Designation type: MCZ
Site identification: MCZ0008-02
Designation date: 21 November 2013
Designated features
(click to see site specific description):

General information on the site features:
The general information on the designated features from the MCZ features catalogue is useful for understanding the designated features, and should be used in conjunction with the site specific information.
Designated area (ha): 2750
Overlapping Protected Areas:

Last updated: 15th September 2017

Background information and geography

The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago situated approximately 28 miles off the south west coast of Cornwall, renowned for their pristine marine environment and diverse fauna. There are 11 MCZs in the Isles of Scilly, covering an area of approximately 30km2 in total.

Bristows to the Stones MCZ is situated to the north east of the main archipelago and includes part of the Seven Stones reef. The site straddles the 6nm boundary from the Isles of Scilly and is completely subtidal, ranging in depth from 25m to 75m (Ware, 2016).This MCZ site contains large areas of circalittoral rocky reef, with highly diverse faunal communities. Reef communities are made up of corals, sponges, bryozoans and anemones, and include the pink sea fan (Eunicella verrucosa), a UK Priority species for conservation (Ware, 2016). The reefs are interspersed primarily with areas of subtidal sediment, which forms a thin veneer over some low lying rock, and subtidal sand (Dove et al., 2014). The sediment provides habitat for a range of echinoderm and bivalve species (Ware, 2016). Spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas), another UK Priority species for conservation, is also designated as a feature in this site.

Bristows to the Stones is the only Isles of Scilly MCZ which does not overlap with the Isles of Scilly SAC.

Site maps

Use the MAGIC website to see site maps, including habitats, species and other marine designations.

These maps are based on best available evidence, there are some caveats associated with the maps on MAGIC.

The dynamic nature of habitat features and supporting habitats for mobile species is illustrated where data is available, as new evidence becomes available these maps will be updated with our current knowledge of their known extent.



Conservation objectives

The site’s conservation objectives apply to the Marine Conservation Zone and the individual habitats and species for which the site has been designated.

The conservation objective of each of the zones is that the protected habitats and species:

  1. Are maintained in favourable condition
  2. Be brought into favourable condition if they are not already in favourable condition

For each protected habitat favourable conditions means that within a zone:

  1. Its extent is stable or increasing
  2. Its structure and functions, its quality, and the composition of its characteristic biological communities (including diversity and abundance of species forming part of, or inhabiting the habitat) are sufficient to ensure that its condition remains healthy and does not deteriorate.

Any temporary deterioration in condition is to be disregarded if the habitat is sufficiently healthy and resilient to enable its recovery.

For each species of marine fauna, favourable condition means that a population within a zone is supported in numbers which enable it to thrive by maintaining:

  1. The quality and quantity of its habitat
  2. The number, age and sex ratio of its population

Any temporary reduction of numbers of a species is to be disregarded if the population is sufficiently thriving and resilient to enable its recovery.

Any alteration to a feature brought about entirely by natural processes is to be disregarded when determining whether a protected feature is in favourable condition.

This should be read in conjunction with the accompanying supplementary advice section, which provides more detailed advice and information to help achieve the objectives set out above.

Designated features:

  • Fragile sponge and anthozoan communities on subtidal rocky habitats
  • High energy circalittoral rock
  • Pink sea-fan (Eunicella verrucosa)
  • Spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas)


Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives

See supplementary advice on conservation objectives for this site, which aim to describe the range of ecological attributes that are most likely to contribute to a site’s overall integrity.

Last updated: 15th September 2017


Advice on Operations

See the advice on operations for this site to view information on the sensitivity of features in this site to the pressures exerted by different activities.

Last updated: 15th March 2019


Advice on Seasonality

See the advice on seasonality for this site, to view the months in which each mobile feature occurs in this site.

Last updated: 20th March 2017


Feature Condition

In 2016, Natural England trialled and rolled out a new condition assessment methodology that provide robust results and information on the condition of marine features within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Area Teams conduct these assessments following a standardised approach that assesses if feature- and site-specific targets have been met. Assessments for the first sites have been completed, and several others are currently assessed by the Area Teams.

To date, condition assessments have been carried out for marine habitat features of a number of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Marine habitat features in other SACs will be assessed in the future. Different processes are currently in place to report on the condition of features in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and on the condition of non-marine habitat features and species features of SACs.

The main part of the assessment process is directly undertaken and stored here on Natural England’s Designated Sites View. The details for the most recent assessments of this site can be found here.



Management measures

If you are carrying out an environmental assessment, planning an operation or assessing an operation or proposal, it is important to consult with the following organisations where applicable. To find out if any management measures, byelaws or other restrictions apply to your activity see the management measure page or you can use the following links for more information.

The Marine Management Organisation license, regulate and plan marine activities in the seas around England and Wales so that they’re carried out in a sustainable way.
Environment Agency are responsible for regulating major industry and waste, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations, conservation and ecology.
Offshore Petroleum Regulator for the Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) regulates oil and gas, CCS and gas storage activities in the marine environment.

Further information

For further information relating to this designated site you can refer to the following resources:
Site specific information: Other information:
For further information about this site contact: Natural England enquiries Telephone: 0300 060 3900. Email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

For further information on the Conservation Advice Project, including Designated Sites System (DSS) guidance, Frequently Asked Questions and a Glossary of terminology, please contact: MCAProject@naturalengland.org.uk


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