Central Fladen NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site lies within the Fladen Grounds, a large area of mud in the northern North Sea. This site includes an unusual geological tunnel valley known as the Fladen Deeps or The Holes.  It is thought these valleys were created by erosion from melt water under an ice sheet in former ice ages. Several different seapens live here including the fairly uncommon tall seapen, which can grow up to 2m in height. 

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

925.27 km2 (357.25 mi.2)


156.80 km (97.43 mi.)

  • 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

  • Sub-glacial tunnel valley representative of the Fladen Deeps Key Geodiversity Area

    It is thought these valleys were created by erosion of melt water under an ice sheet in former ice ages

Did you know?…

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

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

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

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