Marine Protected Areas

Medway Nursery Area

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The UK’s largest no-take zone

Working with Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery, Kent and Essex IFCA is leading the way in marine conservation with the creation of the UK’s largest no take zone in the Medway Estuary.

The new Medway Nursery Area No Take Zone byelaw will prohibit any fishing activity in an area of the Medway four times larger than the City of London

Located along the north Kent coast, Medway Estuary encompasses a large area of intertidal habitat. The no-take zone covers 12.1 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) of saltmarsh and mudflat environments that are vitally important to a wide variety of fish. The shallow waters have been identified as a nursery area, as they provide a refuge for fish during their juvenile stages, allowing them to shelter from predators and storms whilst supporting an abundance of prey sources.

Browse the links to find out more about Medway Nursery No-Take Zone, or find out more about the need for protection here:

What is a nursery area?

How does the Medway Nursery No-Take Zone help juvenile fish?


Medway Nursery Area

Get Involved

Come along to our stand at the Medway River Festival in Chatham on Saturday 9th July. It’s a free family fun day, celebrating everything about the river.

Download educational resource packs for your school or club: Learning zone

Do you go fishing in the Medway? We’re looking at ways for recreational anglers to log their catches, and contribute to a greater understanding of how fish use the estuary.

Fishing in the Medway

Commercial fishing in the River Medway has a rather rare and unusual history. Overfishing and conflicts between fishermen from the 15th to 18th centuries led Parliament to restrict fishing rights to only the citizens of Rochester. In 1729, these rights were passed to a new guild – the Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery (ROFF), who have been in charge of the fishery ever since.

The fishermen of this ancient guild work hard to ensure their river is used sustainably so the traditional fishery can be maintained for generations to come. In order to fish here, fishermen must serve a 7 year apprenticeship during which centuries of accumulated knowledge will be handed down to them.

Here’s what Shane Hales, ROFF Chamberlain said about the new no take zone and working with Kent and Essex IFCA;

“ROFF are immensely proud to be involved with this innovative project that could potentially help many Thames Estuary fishermen as adult fish spread out from these vital nursery areas. Conservation is the cornerstone of our Fishery and to be able to help protect our juvenile fish stock with the largest no take zone in the country is a massive step forward for our Fishery. We have had great support and advice from the KEIFCA and this alliance can only go from strength to strength.”

Learn more about ROFF and the history of the River Medway.

Protecting the Medway

Medway Estuary has a history of industry and commerce dating back to the Industrial Revolution. In recent years, many campaigns have helped to protect the estuary in the form of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), conserving rare species and habitats with international importance.

Find out more about conservation in the Medway Estuary.

Discover the fish that rely on the estuarine habitats.

Contact us

Follow us on Kent and Essex IFCA on Twitter @KentEssexIFCA

For general enquiries, please email:

Or contact the office:

  • Kent and Essex IFCA
  • Paragon House,
  • Albert Street,
  • Ramsgate
  • CT11 9HD

T: 01843 585310


View presentation on the importance of saltmarshes and nursery areas