Scotland has some of the most beautiful and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Marine Scotland is committed to protecting and enhancing these amazing ecosystems to ensure they are safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.
Protected areas are one of the mechanisms used to ensure protection of some of the most vulnerable species and habitats.
The Scottish MPA network covers approximately 20% of our seas, and also comprises:
- 47 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protected species and habitats such as bottlenose dolphin, cold-water coral reefs and seals
- 45 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for colonies of seabirds such as puffins and kittiwakes
- 61 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the further protection of species from seabirds and seals to habitats, from sea caves and rocky shores.
Thirty Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were designated on the 7th August 2014 to protect benthic species and habitats such as maerl beds and common skate. Seventeen of these sites fall under the Marine (Scotland) Act for inshore waters and 13 under the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act for offshore waters.
Below are links to information on the different topics relating to the Scottish protected areas network.