The East of Gannet and Montrose Fields MPA lies within a shallow sediment plain to the south-east of Scotland. The sandy seabed is an ideal home for ocean quahog, a type of large clam that normally lives buried in the sand. Ocean quahog filter food from passing currents, using their shovel-like ‘foot’ to bury into the sediment.
The majority of the seabed within the MPA is dominated by sands and gravels, which are the preferred habitat of the ocean quahog. Ocean quahog is an important food source for several species of fish. They can live for more than 400 years and are one of the longest living creatures on Earth.
The southern part of the MPA includes one of very few examples of deep-sea mud on the continental shelf in the North Sea. It is too dark for plants to grow at this depth; instead conditions are favoured by deep sea animals such as sea urchins, sea cucumbers, worms and bivalves (animals protected by a pair of shells).
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.