The waters around the southern end of Arran are home to a diversity of habitats and species characteristic of the more exposed areas of the Clyde Sea: a patchwork of maerl beds, kelp and seaweeds on sediments, burrowed mud, coarse shell gravels with burrowing bivalves, and seagrass beds to name but a few. The MPA encompasses the waters from just north of Drumadoon Point on the west coast, to Corriegills Point on the east and includes the current Lamlash Bay closure.
The maerl beds, which are made up of a free-living calcified red seaweed that looks like pink branched twiglets, support an amazing array of other seaweeds as well as various sea anemones, starfish and juvenile fish and shellfish. Where the maerl is interspersed with coarse gravel, a variety of tube building worms are to be found as well as sea cucumbers which bury their bodies in the maerl and gravel extending only their white or orange feathery tentacles up into the water column to feed. The seagrass beds that provide shelter and protection here to a range of associated species also help to stabilise sediments as well as trapping and storing carbon dioxide.
Burrowed mud is widely distributed around the outer regions of the MPA and supports a range of animals including Norway lobster, squat lobster, crabs, worms, ocean quahogs and the slender seapen.
The current conservation objective is to conserve the protected features of this MPA, with the exception of the maerl beds which are set to recover.
More detail on the designation is available from the SNH website.