The Firth of Forth Banks Complex MPA is located in offshore waters to the east of Scotland, and includes the Berwick, Scalp and Montrose Banks and the Wee Bankie. Strongly influenced by currents, the mosaic of different types of sands and gravels creates a unique mixture of habitats that overlie the underwater banks and mounds.
The Firth of Forth Banks Complex MPA covers a highly productive and therefore biologically rich area. The sand and gravel banks are considered significant to the health of Scotland’s seas, supporting populations of small fish and creating conditions ideal for several types of fish to breed. This source of food attracts many larger types of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals such as dolphins. A mosaic of sand and gravels is present, from coarse gravel to finer-grained sands, supporting a variety of animals, including those that live buried in sand, growing on gravel and small rocks, or flatfish, starfish and crabs roaming the surface looking for their next meal. Ocean quahog, one of the longest living animals on Earth, also live buried under sandier areas.
The Wee Bankie includes an area of unusual seabed, formed from underwater glacial ridges deposited during the last Ice Age. This feature is scientifically important for its role in improving understanding of the history of glaciation around Scotland.
The current conservation objective is to conserve the protected features of this MPA.
More detail on the designation is available from the JNCC website.
The final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment for this MPA is available to view.