Protected Area E - Loch Sween MPA
Loch Sween is a complex west coast sea loch with a number of arms extending from a single large basin. It is being proposed for burrowed mud, maerl beds, native oysters, sublittoral mud and mixed sediment communities.
The tidal narrows at Taynish and Caol Scotnish provide the perfect environment for maerl beds. Maerl is free-living calcareous red seaweed. There are two types found in Scottish waters and both types occur in Loch Sween. The branched structure of the maerl creates a complex habitat in which many other species such as feather stars, scallops, sponges, crabs and fish can shelter. The rapids also support luxuriant stands of seaweeds interspersed amongst the maerl.
Tidal movement through the main body of the loch and the narrow arms creates a variety of different physical conditions in which a diversity of habitats thrive. Here large green volcano worms live in burrows, as well as nephrops, shrimps, worms and burrowing gobies.
Summary of the approaches to management
There are 2 approaches presented
The 1 st approach would prohibit suction dredging (boat or diver operated) throughout the MPA and restrict activities on a zonal basis. Under this approach there would need to be further consideration of measures in the 2 nd batch for sublittoral mud and mixed sediment communities.
The 2 nd approach builds on the first by increasing the level of zonal protection. In addition a curfew on mechanical dredging would be implemented in the outer part of the MPA to limit pressure on the habitats there. This would deliver all the necessary management measures.
See the Protected Area E section in the following documents;
See questions 13 - 15