Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goil MPA is a productive, multi-feature MPA for seabed habitats.
The quiet waters of these sea lochs are the ideal environment for a range of muddy seabed habitats to develop. Loch Shira is home to spectacular fireworks anemones that seem to explode from the mud. At Castleton there is a flame shell bed which helps stabilise the underlying sediment creating a habitat for a wide range of other plants and animals that would otherwise not be able to survive in the area.
Large aggregations of brightly coloured sea cucumbers are scattered in mixed muddy sediments at the entrance to the mouth of Loch Goil, alongside clumps of horse mussels and sea squirts. On the surface of the mud, slender seapens stand guard while squat lobsters roam in search of food amongst tube-dwelling sea anemones that snap quickly back into their tubes if disturbed.
The current conservation objective is to conserve the protected features of this MPA with the exception of flameshell beds which are set to recover.
More detail on the designation is available from the SNH website.
The final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment for this MPA is available to view.