Protected Area B - Loch Creran MPA / SAC
Loch Creran is a small but remarkable sea loch on the west coast of Scotland to the north of Oban. Carved into the landscape by glaciers during the last ice age, the loch has four deep basins separated by rocky sills. The conditions change from the entrance of the loch to its head. The bottoms of the basins are deep, dark and still.
Loch Creran has a unique assemblage of biogenic reefs which have been constructed by the serpulid tube worm and the horse mussel, as well as bedrock reef. In the marine environment serpulid reefs are exceptionally rare, occurring in only two other locations in Europe. Loch Creran is the most extensive example of serpulid reef habitat. Horse mussel beds are relatively common in Scottish west coast waters but are a valuable feature of our natural heritage and rare in a European context. These biogenic reefs provide significant habitat for a great diversity of marine organisms. However, they are slow growing and extremely susceptible to physical damage. The small amount of bedrock reef in Loch Creran provides substrate for a diversity of sessile organisms.
Currents are accelerated over the shallow sills at Eriska and Creagan. These two areas of rapid tidal flow supply the necessary food and aeration for the formation of flame shell beds. The largest lies to the south of the Eriska Narrows at North Shian, with the smaller found at the western entrance to the Creagan Narrows.
Summary of the approaches to management
There are 2 approaches presented;
The 1 st approach would prohibit the use of suction dredges (boat or diver operated) throughout the MPA / SAC. A new spatial measure would prohibit trawling at Eriska Narrows where there is a flame shell bed.
The 2 nd approach would prohibit the use of trawls and suction dredges (boat or diver operated) throughout the MPA / SAC.
See the Protected Area B section in the following documents;
See questions 4 - 7