Management of Lyme Bay
Lyme Bay is home to rocky reefs made up of boulders, cobbles and mixed sediments, providing a complex habitat which is known to support sensitive reef species of national importance, and is regarded as a marine biodiversity hotspot.
The management of Lyme Bay has changed considerably over time, beginning when concerns were raised over the impacts of towed demersal gear on Lyme Bay reef habitats in the early 1990’s. These concerns were initially addressed through the creation of four areas voluntarily closed to bottom-towed fishing gear (totalling 22 km2), which began being implemented in 2001. These areas were not deemed sufficient by Devon Wildlife Trust and other conservationists, who continued to campaign for one large marine protected area (MPA) with statutory levels of protection. In 2008, Lyme Bay became the UK’s largest MPA under a Statutory Instrument (SI) protecting marine biodiversity through the exclusion of bottom-towed fishing gear (scallop dredging and trawling) from a 206 km2 area of seabed (known locally as “The Box”).