Hatton-Rockall Basin NCMPA
This site is located in the far west of Scotland’s offshore waters. Rockall Bank lies to the east, Hatton Bank to the west, and George Bligh Bank to the north. This is a really deep muddy area which is home to animals that don’t require much natural light! The site is important because it aims to protect unusual groupings of deep-sea sponges which are classed as a declining habitat. It is an unusual area as it is made up of polygonal faults which are cracks in the seafloor. They look like the cracks found on a sun scorched desert, creating a unique relief on the seabed providing a habitat for deep-sea sponges.
MPA TypeNature 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 date24 July 2014
Surface Area1,257.65 km2 (485.58 mi.2)
Perimeter143.32 km (89.05 mi.)
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.
Deep-sea sponge aggregations
Deep sea areas dominated mainly by two types of sponge - glass sponge and giant sponge.
Sediment drifts and polygonal faults representative of Hatton Bank (and adjacent sea floor) Key Geodiversity Area.
Areas where sediment has accumulated and areas with cracks in the seafloor, similar in appearance to those on a sun scorched desert
Did you know?…
To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’
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’
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