Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This area is home to a large number of mature common skate that may also be breeding in the area. The common skate is the largest skate in the world and can reach 2.5m in length. Skates are an ancient group of fish that first appeared in fossil records about 150 million years ago. This is a rare and vulnerable giant which really needs protection. 

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

741.27 km2 (286.20 mi.2)


860.41 km (534.63 mi.)

  • Common skate (Dipturus batis)

    A large ray with a long pointed snout growing up to 3m in length. UK populations have suffered significant declines and the species is now a conservation priority. They can occur at depths of up to 600m.

  • 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.

Did you know?…

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

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas