Loch Creran NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

Loch Creran is a wonderful sea loch on the west coast of Scotland to the north of Oban. It is home to a huge variety of creatures including Norway lobsters and seapens, the highly coloured dead man fingers, sponges and anemones. The existence of flame shell beds, horse mussel beds and reefs greatly enhances the biodiversity of the loch and provides shelter to many other plants and animals including seaweeds, whelks, starfish, brittlestars, crabs, sponges and sea squirts.

There is also a Special Area of Conservation in this area too, another type of Marine Protected Area.

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

12.27 km2 (4.74 mi.2)


38.08 km (23.66 mi.)

  • Flameshell beds (Limaria hians)

    Flame shells are animals with a pair of shells, like a mussel or scallop, that can form dense groups on the seabed. Large groups, or beds, of flame shells are very rare. They can attract and support hundreds of other species creating a very vibrant ocean

  • Quaternary of Scotland

    Evidence of extreme climatic and environmental change during a period up to 2 million years ago that has left a strong imprint in the landforms, fossils and recent sedimentary deposits.

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Loch Creran contains serpulid reefs, a priority fragile biogenic reef habitat. It is the target for focused monitoring survey dives to ascertain the extent and status of the reefs. A survey weekend was organised in June 2017 (Report to be completed)

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Did you know?…

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 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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