Natural England Conservation Advice for Marine Protected Areas
Isles of Scilly: Smith Sound Tide Swept Channel 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: Smith Sound Tide Swept Channel MCZ
Designation type: MCZ
Site identification: MCZ0008-10
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): 160
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.

Smith Sound Tide Swept Channel MCZ is situated towards the south of the main Scilly archipelago. The MCZ encompasses Smith Sound, the channel to the west of St Agnes and includes most of the east coast of Annet, an uninhabited island. The site protects a large area of high energy intertidal rock on the west coast of St Agnes, and supports a number of important species for conservation, such as burgundy maerl paint weed (Cruoria cruoriaeformis) (Lieberknecht et al., 2011). Rocky reefs support mixed kelp forests and in deeper water are colonised by a mix of algal species, encrusting sponges and jewel anemones (Irving and Northern, 2012). UK Priority species found in the MCZ are spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas), pink sea fans (Eunicella verrucosa), sea fan anemones (Amphianthus dorhnii), stalked jellyfish (Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis) and giant goby (Gobius cobitis ) (Lieberknecht et al., 2011).

Smith Sound Tide Swept Channel MCZ overlaps with the Isles of Scilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The SAC is designated to protect the archipelago’s intertidal mudflats and sandflats, sandbanks, rocky reefs, shore dock (Rumex rupestris) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus). The MCZ adds to this by protecting specific intertidal rock habitats and spiny lobster. Conservation advice on the Isles of Scilly SAC features is in the Regulation 33 package and new advice is currently being drafted.

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. Are 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 in number 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:

  • High energy intertidal rock
  • Moderate energy intertidal rock
  • 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: 14th September 2018


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


Close