An array of exceptional marine habitats and species can be found across the Southern IFCA district. From expansive mudflats rich in invertebrates that support thousands of overwintering birds to intricate reef systems home to rare pink sea-fans. In turn, the diversity of habitats supports valuable inshore fishing grounds which are fished by small-scale day vessels, all under 12 metres in length, and many under 10 metres.
The importance of the marine environment throughout the Southern IFCA district is reflected by the number of Marine Protected Areas we have. Marine Protected Areas, also known as MPAs, are areas of the sea and coast that are designated to protect marine habitats and species. They are one of the tools used to protect the marine environment and promote the sustainable use of marine resources.