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marine environment

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Marine Protected Area Network - 2018 Report to the Scottish Parliament

SEA and Network Assessment consultation for Special Protection Areas launched

Consultation on the Screening and Scoping report for Priorrity Marine Features launched

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Scotland has some of the most beautiful and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Marine Scotland is committed to protecting and enhancing these amazing ecosystems to ensure they are safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.  Protected areas are used to ensure protection of some of the most vulnerable species and habitats.  

The Scottish MPA network (also shown on this map) includes sites for nature conservation, protection of biodiversity, demonstrating sustainable management, and protecting our heritage. In total the network covers approximately 22% of our seas and comprises:

  • 217 sites for nature conservation protecting a broad range of habitats and species that are found in our seas.  Habitats range from rocky shores and sea caves at the coastline to deep sea habitats such as coral gardens and Lophelia pertusa.  Species range from harbour porpoise to common skate to puffins.

  • 5 other area based measures which protect species such as sandeels and blue ling, as well as vulnerable marine ecosystems.

  • 1 Demonstration and Research MPA around Fair Isle to investigate the factors affecting seabird populations demonstrate the socio-economic benefits of the marine environment.

  • 8 Historic MPAs to preserve sites of historical importance around the Scottish coast.

In December 2018 Scottish Ministers laid a report in the Scottish Parliament describing progress with implementing the MPA network.


Nature Conservation MPAs


Information about:

Inshore MPAs/SACs

Offshore MPAs/SACs


Information about:





Information about:

Historic MPAs

Demonstration & Research MPAs

Map of scotland

Information about:


Harbour Porpoise SACs

Harbour porpoise

Information about:


Aquaculture Bill

Archive documents and related links to the work on:



Contact details for all Marine Scotland offices