Mousa to Boddam NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This is a really important area for sandeels, as well as being a known spawning ground for fish. Sandeels can grow up to 30cm long and swim together in shoals. Many other types of fish and seabirds, dolphins and even whales feed on these sandeels. There is also a Special Area of Conservation here, a type of Marine Protected Area, designated to protect seabirds, seals and reefs.

Whilst it is good that this site has been designated, the boundaries for the site are not sufficient as acoustic data indicates the distribution of suitable sandeel habitat ranges beyond them. Historic data also indicates that this is the case.

MPA Type

Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area

Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (NCMPAs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine Scotland Act 2010) and have been established around Scotland to contribute to the UK MPA network by protecting a range of important habitats, species and features of the seabed.

Designation date

24 July 2014

Surface Area

13.09 km2 (5.05 mi.2)


37.99 km (23.61 mi.)

  • Sandeels (Ammodytes spp.)

    Sandeels are small eel-like fish which swim in large shoals. They are an extremely important part of food webs in the North Atlantic. They also support the largest fishery in the North Sea, with recent annual landings in the last decade of around a millio

  • Marine geomorphology of the Scottish shelf seabed

    The features of the seabed formed by the action of tides and currents.

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns