North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel

Site overview: This site is located to the far north-east of Scotland, covering the north-eastern section of the Faroe-Shetland Channel in Scottish waters. Here, warmer waters mix with cooler ones creating a unique environment that provides food and nutrients for a whole host of sea creatures, including around 50 different species of sea sponge. The sponges also provide shelter for a range of smaller creatures including pencil urchins and brittlestars. Below 800m, the muddy seabed is home to those species that can put up with the cooler Arctic-influenced waters, such as deep-sea worms. The channel is thought to be a corridor for migrating mammals, including fin whales and sperm whales. The Pilot Whale Diapirs are found here; these are a group of deep-water mounds which measure 2 to 3 km across and rise to around 70m. They are the only known example found in UK waters that breach the seabed surface.

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.


62° 36' 10" North,
0° 51' 21" West

Surface Area

23,766.39 km2
(9,176.25 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site