Marine species: protection

Find out about the different marine species and how they are protected by EU and UK wildlife legislation.



Many marine species are protected by EU and UK wildlife legislation from intentional or deliberate disturbance, taking, harm and killing, and in some cases possession or sale.

The offences that apply will depend on the species, activity and location. The tables provide a summary of what marine species are protected and by what legislation. Please refer to the legislation directly for details of offences and defences, or contact your local Marine Management Organisation office for further advice.

Some of the species are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and are labelled in the guidance.

Published 11 June 2014
Last updated 21 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. Prohibited or unauthorised method to capture or kill HTML updated

  2. Telephone number changed

  3. Information on protecting Tope, shark finning, protective measures and pair trawling for bass added

  4. First published.