the diverse species that make the MPA their home


the beauty of our coast and sea


the marine world for future generations

Welcome to the Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries Marine Protected Area

The Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries boast a rich cultural heritage that is intimately tied to the sea. It hosts the largest naval base in Western Europe and offers great opportunities for recreation, but it’s also home to a surprisingly vibrant and diverse marine environment. It’s a designated Marine Protected Area – or ‘MPA’ – because it hosts some of Europe’s most threatened marine species and habitats. Now we have an opportunity to conserve this precious area for future generations to enjoy…

Plymouth Hoe overlooks the MPA


The Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries boast a rich cultural heritage and a variety of important marine habitats and wildlife. The marine environment is under threat, but there are things we can all do to protect it.

Sail Boat by Drakes Island, Plymouth MPA


From diving to rock pooling, wild swimming to sailing, SUP boarding to coastal walking; whether you prefer to be on, in or by the water, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy, explore and discover something new.

Sutton Harbour Marina, Plymouth MPA


Coastal development requires various planning consents, mitigations and licenses. It requires engagement with the Local Planning Authority as well as various regulatory bodies.

Bird Watching at Ernesettle Creek, Tamar Estuary, Plymouth MPA


The Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum is a collaboration between the relevant authorities, agencies and stakeholders, working in partnership to sustainably manage the Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries MPA.

the marine protected area

The Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries MPA is made up of a number of overlapping designations and component sites, recognising its importance to marine conservation both in the UK and internationally.

hectares designated as a Special Area of Conservation

hectares designated as a Special Protection Area

hectares designated as a Marine Conservation Zone

hectares of component Sites of Special Scientific Interest

On our doorstep

There’s no need to travel to far-flung, exotic places to find busy, vibrant reefs and a rich variety of marine life.
We’ve got plenty of Blue Planet drama right here in the Plymouth Sound & Tamar Estuaries!
Take a look at what makes our Marine Protected Area so special – you might be surprised at what is living right on our doorstep.