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Cetacean habitat directory for MPAs and sanctuaries

Marine region number 5 MPA number 55

MPA Name (English) Celtic Shelf Break MPA
MPA Name (Local) Celtic Shelf Break MPA
Current Status Proposed

Country EUROPEAN UNION Transboundary MPAs
Location • Located in the Celtic Sea, SW of England, W of France and S of Ireland, extending from 48°30'N and 52°N to 4°W and the 1000m contour at the edge of the continental slope. It is bounded to the E by the English Channel, and to the S and W by the continental slope; depending on the precise boundaries, it would include parts of the EEZs of the UK, Ireland and France.
Size • No definite size proposed yet

Cetacean name
(common)
• short-beaked common dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, harbor porpoise
Cetacean name
(scientific)
• Delphinus delphis, Lagenorhynchus acutus, Tursiops truncatus, Phocoena phocoena
Other species • basking sharks; leatherback turtles; commercial fish species such as hake, megrium, blue whiting and mackerel; diverse ichthyoplankton assemblages with more than 70 species identified; seabirds include gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes, petrels and shearwaters
• planktonic, benthic and other fish species recorded include 13 abundant, 14 uncommon and 51 rare

Rationale • This area with diverse planktonic, benthic and other fish species, and highly productive upwellings, has substantial cetacean populations, including harbor porpoises, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and short-beaked common dolphins. These small cetaceans are subject to high mortality rates from bycatch in set-net and pelagic trawl fisheries in the area. Other surveys have noted high densities of bottlenose dolphins in the Celtic Sea with an estimate of 5370 (cv 0.49) (O’Brien et al, 2009b).
• The Celtic Sea/SW approaches represent a key marine area without protection. The Celtic Sea may be a migration corridor for basking shark, and it is a spawning ground for various commercial fish (megrium, blue whiting and mackerel). Further studies are necessary to quantify the area’s importance.
• Conflicts include potential offshore oil and gas exploration licensed by the UK and Ireland.
Management plan
Management plan web link


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