Wester Ross

Site overview: This area is home to a huge variety of sea creatures including flame shell beds, maerl beds and northern feather star aggregations. Norway lobsters can be seen guarding the entrances to their burrows amongst dense forests of seapens. Maerl beds are really delicate, they grow as little as 2.5cm per year. The structure of the maerl beds provides a sheltered habitat for many other species, including juvenile fish and shellfish.
At risk: It has been recognised that the maerl beds here need to be allowed to recover from damage that has already occurred. Maerl beds are highly sensitive to heavy bottom-towed fishing gears and other impacts caused by humans, such as chemical pollution. In Wester Ross there are a number of patchy areas where maerl has been found, but it is in poor condition in these areas and needs a permanent rest and plenty of space from damaging fishing methods in order to have any chance of recovery.

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.


57° 57' 24" North,
5° 31' 23" West

Surface Area

599.41 km2
(231.43 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site