Nine new Marine Nature Reserves have gone live on the Isle of Man.
It means the Island now has 10.
They stretch around the coast from Ramsey to the Calf of Man covering 50 per cent of the inshore area and more than 10 per cent of the territorial sea.
They provide specific protection for important species and habitats including rare eel grass meadows, kelp forests and horse mussel reefs.
Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Geoffrey Boot says: "With the introduction of these new reserves, every part of the Island now has a marine nature reserve virtually on its doorstep.
"It's important to remember that these are not areas closed to the public - quite the contrary – as we want to encourage the community to get involved with our wonderful marine environment and ‘adopt’ their local MNR.
"These areas have been designated because they are special for a number of reasons. So they should not be ignored, but enjoyed by families, groups and individuals taking part in safe and sustainable activities like water sports, diving, recreational fishing, bird watching and lower-impact commercial fishing.”
"We see the new MNRs as a key way to help protect not only some very important species and habitats, but also safeguard existing industries like commercial fishing.
"As the quality of the inshore environment recovers everyone can benefit from improved ‘ecosystem services’, whether that is bathing water quality, reduced coastal erosion and better flood prevention, nutrient and sewage treatment, nursery areas for commercial and recreational fishery species, or just enjoying the sight of dolphins and seabirds."
The introduction of the new Marine Nature Reserves comes after the new Blueways Trails were launched – the three tails are designed to promote exploration of our historic coast and shoreline.