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 13km² and is located on the western side of Selsey Bill and extending out seawards to include the Hounds rocky reef in the northwest and the rock features off the headland itself.
Now the site has been designated, Sussex IFCA will be able to start discussions with stakeholders regarding management measures. It is likely that it will take about two years for management to come into force, after designation, and we will endeavour to ensure that all interested parties are consulted during the development of the management. Stakeholders’ views are always considered during management development. We also take into account advice from Natural England and other organisations, as well as scientific evidence.
The site is characterised by its unusual outcrops of limestone and clay called the Hounds, the Malt Owers, the Streets, the Grounds and the Mixon. A section of the Bracklesham Bay geological feature is within the site, where the Earnley Clay Formation exposes Eocene fossils along the beach.
Mixon Hole is a dramatic 20m drop in the seafloor exposing clay cliffs capped with limestone and supporting a rich diversity of habitats and species, including crabs, hydroids, sea squirts and fish species such as tompot blennies.
The unusual seabed topography within the site supports high biodiversity, including a variety of algae, anemones, sponges, hydroids, ascidians and bivalves, such as native oyster (Ostrea edulis).
Links to further information
Defra’s MCZ pages
The Wildlife Trust's Selsey Bill and the Hounds MCZ page