Noss Head

Site overview: This site is located off the coast at Wick in the north of Scotland and supports the largest known horse mussel bed in Scottish waters. Horse mussels are long-lived, many survive for more than 25 years and some may live for more than 50 years. Young mussels are a favourite meal for crabs and starfish. They also provide a habitat for many other types of marine invertebrates and plants. These are also important nursery areas for juvenile fish and shellfish.
At risk: The use of heavy bottom towed gear must be limited throughout this site as it can really damage the horse mussel beds. It is really important that these habitats are properly protected.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area
MPA Purpose
This complements the MPA power introduced through the Marine and Coastal Access Act for offshore waters around Scotland. The Act also allows the Scottish Ministers to designate MPAs for demonstration and research and for historic/cultural conservation.


58° 27' 51" North,
3° 1' 21" West

Surface Area

7.54 km2
(2.91 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site