Protected Area F - Lochs Duich Long & Alsh MPA / SAC
Home to a huge bed of brightly coloured shellfish flame shells, the Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh MPA covers a group of sea lochs on the west coast. When viewed from the air, they form a distinctive Y-shape. The sea lochs lie amongst the jagged mountains of Kintail, Lochalsh, Glenelg and Skye.
The steep sides of the mountains continue down underwater to form deep basins of burrowed mud. All three types of Scottish sea pens are found including forests of the tall seapen. The flamboyant white tentacles of the fireworks anemones flare out over the dark mud, particularly within Loch Duich where this species is recorded in large numbers.
The Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh SAC, were designated for extensive areas of tide-swept reefs, extremely sheltered rocky reefs and horse mussel beds. Adjoining the horse mussel bed and stretching out under the Skye Bridge is the flame shell bed covering more than 75 hectares. Estimated to host at least 100 million individuals this is the largest known bed in the UK, and possibly the world.
Summary of the approach to management
The approach to management would in effect convert the existing fishing vessel licence condition into a permanent measure and maintain the existing seasonal closure.
See the Protected Area F section in the following documents;
See questions 16 - 17