Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goil NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This Loch is home to beautiful fireworks anemones, volcano worms and Norway lobsters which create burrows in the muddy seabed. The brittlestars that live here occur in huge numbers together with elegant peacock worms, various sponges, starfish, sea squirts and also horse mussels. Loch Goil is also the only known location where the Arctic relic seasquirt has been recorded. Both sea lochs also have excellent examples of sheltered rock reefs.

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

87.68 km2 (33.85 mi.2)


145.71 km (90.54 mi.)

  • Ocean quahog (Arctica islandica)

    The ocean quahog is a two-shelled animal that looks like a very large cockle and lives buried in the seabed. It can grow up to 13cm across and can be very long lived, with one individual reported to have reached over 500 years old.

  • Burrowed mud

    Burrowed mud is a surprisingly important marine habitat which supports a rich community of animals.   There are the burrow-making animals that live within the mud itself, including fish, worms, brittlestars, crabs and shrimps.  Secondly, there are those a

  • Sublittoral mud and specific mixed sediment communities

    Mud and other sediments below the low water mark which can support a rich variety of life including shellfish, anemones and worms.

  • Horse mussel beds (Modiolus modiolus)

    Horse mussels are like the little mussels so common around our seashore only they are much larger – up to 20cm in length. They are usually found in small clumps or vast beds, partially buried in the seabed. These groups create a great habitat for lots of

  • 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

Did you know?…

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

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 of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers