East of Gannet and Montrose Fields NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

The majority of the seabed here is made up of sands and gravels, which are the preferred habitat of the ocean quahog. These clam-like animals can live for more than 400 years and are one of the longest living creatures on Earth. The site also includes a band of offshore deep sea mud. Many types of worm and mollusc live buried in the mud and provide an important food source for passing fish. This deep-sea mud is at too great a depth for plants to grow; instead, the conditions here are favoured by animals such as sea spiders, sea urchins and worms.

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

1,840.45 km2 (710.60 mi.2)


188.04 km (116.84 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

57° 12' 40" North, 1° 17' 28" East

  • 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.

  • Offshore deep sea muds

    One of the most widespread and common habitats in the Scottish offshore environment which supports a variety of animals including prawns, shellfish, starfish and worms.

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’

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns