NTS properties with marine protection sites and the features they protect

MARINE PROTECTION SITES AROUND COASTAL NTS PROPERTIES


The sea around our coast is remarkable for its richness and variety. It supports the rural economy through a huge tourism industry and providing the raw material for commercial fisheries. The species and underwater habitats are not only internationally important but also vital nursery areas for many of our fish populations.

For many years the poor relation of conservation on land, marine conservation has recently taken a great step forward through the establishment of a network of protected areas, each with measures designed to safeguard their special features.

This map shows the marine protection sites around coastal NTS properties. Click on the site links below the map to learn more about the features that they protect.

ARDUAINE

LOCH SUNART & THE SOUND OF JURA

Marine Protected Area


The headland at the back of the beautiful garden of Arduaine gives wonderful views out over the sheltered waters of Loch Melfort and Shuna Sound. These were recently designated as Marine Protected Area for the benefit of the inappropriately named Common Skate. This giant relative of sharks, though once common in Scottish waters, is now considered to be globally threatened.

Reef communities
Hydroid
Long-spined sea scorpion
Orange starfish
Hydroids and red seaweeds on rocky slope

House of Dun

MONTROSE BASIN

Special Protection Area


The House of Dun overlooks the Montrose Basin which is one of the best sites in Scotland for wintering waterfowl. At its peak, the Basin hosts 50,000 Pink-footed geese together with many thousands of waders. The birds on the Basin can be viewed from the hides on the west side of the basin, accessed from the car park by Mains of Dun Farm.

The Basin and surrounding fields have been designated as a Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site.

Balmacara; Kintail

LOCHS DUICH, LONG & ALSH

Marine Protected Area

LOCHS DUICH, LONG & ALSH

Special Area of Conservation


Balmacara and Kintail lie on the shores of the sealoch system of Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. These have the typical profile of a fjord, with the steep-sided and immensely deep Loch Duich opening up towards the sea at Kyle of Lochalsh over a shallow sill, across which sweep fearsome tidal currents. It is here that a recent discovery revealed the presence of Europe’s largest reef of flame shells which was one of the priority marine features highlighted by the Marine Protected Area

Watch a film about the remarkable life within the Marine Protected Area

The lochs had previously been designated as a Special Area of Conservation for other reef features.

The Marine Protected Area and SAC received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all damaging forms of fishing.

Three flame shells (1)
Close-up of a queen scallop with red algae on the surface of a flame shell bed
A rugose squat lobster with a boring yellow sponge on a flame shell bed
A painted topshell
Brittlestars on the surface of a flame shell bed with a butterfish

Brodick

SOUTH ARRAN

Marine Protected Area


Following many years of campaigning by the community on Arran, Lamlash Bay, on the east of the island, was declared as Scotland’s first no-take zone in 2008. This was later extended to form the South Arran Marine Protected Area.

A particular feature of this site is Maerl, a type of coralline seaweed that forms beds of interlocking, branching, coral-like structures

The Marine Protected Area received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all damaging forms of fishing

A spiny starfish on a maerl bed in the Caol Scotnish rapids
Close-up of a small common sea urchin with brittlestars on a maerl bed (Caol Scotnish)
Starfish on maerl bed
Caol Queen scallop on  maerl bed

Canna

CANNA

Special Protection Area

Small Isles

Marine Protected Area


Canna is the outermost and, many would say, the most beautiful of the Small Isles. It is home to a seabird colony of European importance which is designated as a Special Protection Area.

Underwater surveys have recently revealed some remarkable communities of organisms living in the deep trench running between Canna and Rum. Foremost amongst these is the fabled Fan Mussel, known since Roman times in the Mediterranean but vanishingly rare in Scottish waters. In 2009 a colony numbering thousands of individuals was discovered lurking in the deep, dark waters of the Sound of Canna, where they had escaped the damage inflicted elsewhere by hundreds of years of trawling. These, together with other organisms, such as Northern Feather Stars, White Cluster Anemones, Northern Sea Fans and Horse Mussels, caused the site to be declared as Marine Protected Area.

View some videos depicting the sights that you could experience under the sea at www.snh.gov.uk

The Marine Protected Area received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all damaging forms of fishing.

Close up of horse mussel bed Modiolus modiolus
Close-up of the shell of a horse mussel with dead man's finger in the background
A sunstar and dead mans fingers on a horse mussel bed
A mixed horse mussel and flame shell bed

Crarae

UPPER LOCH FYNE & LOCH GOIL

Marine Protected Area


Crarae Gardens lie on the shores of Scotland’s longest sealoch, Loch Fyne. Like a Norwegian fjord, this loch has a deep inner section, protected by a shallow sill at its mouth and has been designated as a Marine Protected Area. The muddy depths are home to such exotic creatures as the Fireworks Anemone and the Volcano Worm, as well as the more familiar Langoustine or Norway Lobster that finds its way onto the menus of many seafood restaurants.

A flame shell with dead mans fingers
An orange sponge with black brittlestars
Dead mans fingers
Close-up of a tube anemone in soft mud

Fair Isle

FAIR ISLE

Special Protection Area

FAIR ISLE

Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (Proposed)


Fair Isle, lying midway between Orkney and Shetland, is Scotland’s most remote inhabited island and home to its third largest seabird colony. The isle, and the sea round about is designated as a Special Protection Area.

The local community on Fair Isle has been campaigning for over 20 years to secure better management of the marine resources around the island. This has resulted in the development of a proposal for a Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area.

To watch a short film on this initiative, visit vimeo.com/157135778

INVEREWE

WESTER ROSS

Marine Protected Area


Inverewe Gardens lie on the shores of the beautiful Loch Ewe. Stretching from here up to the Summer Isles, north of Ullapool is the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area.

The Marine Protected Area received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all dredging for shellfish and restrictions on trawling in some areas.

Longspined sea-scorpion
Juvenile sand star
Hermit crab
Common shore crab

MINGULAY

MINGULAY REEFS

Special Area of Conservation

MINGULAY & BERNERAY

Special Protection Area


The spectacular cliffs on the west side of Mingulay and Berneray are home to a huge colony of seabirds, including the largest colony of razorbills in Europe and Scotland’s newest gannet colony These islands are designated as a Special Protection Area for their seabirds.

Lying just off the east coast is a remarkable area of coral reef formed from cold-water coral, Lophelia pertusa, which has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation

The marine SAC received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all damaging forms of fishing.

St Abbs

ST ABBS & EYEMOUTH

Voluntary Marine Reserve

BERWICKSHIRE & NORTH NOTHUMBERLAND

Special Area of Conservation

ST ABBS HEAD

Special Protection Area


St Abbs Head lies on the Berwickshire coast, just north of the Scottish border. Its cliffs, above water, are home to a large colony of seabirds while, below water, their spectacular shapes and fantastic sea life make this the most popular dive site on the east coast of the United Kingdom.

This gave rise to its being declared as Scotland’s first marine reserve in 1984.

The coast, from North Northumberland up to St Abbs has been designated as a marine Special Area of Conservation

ST KILDA

ST KILDA

World Heritage Site
Special Area of Conservation
Special Protection Area


St Kilda is the largest seabird colony in the north-east Atlantic and the waters around it are remarkable for the rich community of organisms that carpets the fantastic rocks and caves of its underwater landscape. These features have combined to make it one of only three marine World Heritage Sites in Europe.

The same area of sea is designated under European legislation as a Special Area of Conservation for its underwater reefs and caves and a Special Protection Area for its seabird colony

A collection of photographs of the beautiful sea life in the area can be found at www.flickr.com

The marine SAC received formal protection in 2016 with the prohibition of all damaging forms of fishing.

A larger area of sea around St Kilda has been proposed as a Special Protection Area to protect the feeding grounds of the seabirds

A kelp forest in shallow waters at St Kilda
Lion's mane jellyfish in Village Bay, St Kilda
A common starfish on jewel anemones - Dun Arch, St Kilda
Sea anemone covered vertical cliff below the kelp zone, St Kilda

UNST

HERMANESS

Special Protection Area

SAXA VORD & VALLA FIELD

Marine Protected Area

FETLAR TO HAROLDSWICK

Marine Protected Area


NTS properties in northern Shetland stretch from the north end of Unst to Fetlar and part of Yell. These include parts of the seabird colonies at Hermaness and Fetlar.

The sea around the east coasts of Fetlar, Unst and Yell was recently designated as a Marine Protected Area to protect various marine communities

A sunstar and dead mans fingers on a horse mussel bed
A horse mussel bed showing the diving survyors transect line in the background
A rugose squat lobster amongst horse mussels
A harbour crab with hydroids and barnacles on a horse mussel bed