Selsey Bill and the Hounds is a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) designated on the 31st May 2019. The site contains two marine Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (mSNCIs); Mixon Hole and the Hounds.
The small inshore site is just under 16km² and is located by the town of Selsey in West Sussex, extending out seawards to include the Hounds rocky reef in the northwest and the rock features off the headland itself.
Required towed gear management within the site has been addressed through incorporation within the recently confirmed (March 2021) Nearshore Trawling Byelaw 2019: www.sussex-ifca.gov.uk/nearshore-trawling-byelaw
An MCZ assessment will be undertaken to ascertain whether further fisheries management measures will be required to protect the site’s designated features. If further measures are required, Sussex IFCA will endeavour to ensure that all interested parties are consulted during management development. Advice from Natural England and other organisations, as well as scientific evidence, will also be taken into account.
Selsey Bill and the Hounds is well known for its high biodiversity and species richness, supported by a variety of different habitats ranging from rocky habitats to soft sandy sediments. The site provides additional protection for a series of geological interest features that are exposed on, and underlie, the foreshore within Bracklesham Bay. These rock features, known locally as “The Hounds”, consist of outcrops of limestone and clay exposures and are representative of a coherent rock system stretching across the MCZ from the northwest corner to the southeast. These rock features provide a range of habitats that support a wide variety of species, with deeper or vertical rock faces dominated by animals such as anemones, sponges, and sea squirts.
The site also protects one of the best examples of peat and clay exposures on the southeast coast. Within the southeast of the site is the Mixon Hole, a dramatic 20 m drop in the seafloor exposing clay cliffs capped with limestone. This feature supports a rich diversity of habitats and species and has been classed as a marine Site of Nature Conservation Importance by West Sussex County Council.
Links to further information
Defra’s MCZ pages
The Wildlife Trust's Selsey Bill and the Hounds MCZ page