Our Mission “British farmers are paid to conserve on land. Our project will try to find ways in which fishermen can derive similar benefits from conservation at sea.”


When the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA) was introduced in 2008, it was the country’s largest MPA at the time, closing upwards of 200 km2 to bottom-towed fishing. It demonstrated a forward thinking use of the ‘whole-site’ approach to managing our marine habitats. Over a decade on, research pioneered by the University of Plymouth in partnership with fishermen, Blue Marine Foundation and statutory bodies has demonstrated an incredible gain for the ecology, fisheries and communities of Lyme Bay.

The research includes:

  • Monitoring the recovery of the subtidal reefs and protected species within the Reserve since the ban on mobile fishing gear;
  • Establishing evidence for a threshold potting density for crab and lobster that is compatible with a marine protected area;
  • Measuring the social and economic impact of the Lyme Bay Reserve model on local fishermen.
  • Assessing the impact of the storms in 2013/2014 and how the Reserve has increased the resilience of the ecosystem to such events

Over 20 scientific papers and reports have been published about the research carried out in the Lyme Bay Reserve.

Download research papers and reports here: Download Centre

Watch this video on the long-term monitoring project in the Lyme Bay Reserve :

Lyme Bay Science Infographic