The Barra Fan and Hebrides Terrace Seamount NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is in the west of Scotland next to the boundary with Irish waters. The Fan part of this site’s name refers to a large build-up of sediments here. The site also includes the remains of an ancient volcano. The seamount is thought to be important to the health of Scotland’s seas because of its effect on movement of underwater currents, which bring food for sea creatures to the area. Cold-water corals, deep sea sponges and fish such as orange roughy all live here. Several species of sharks and whales swim through.¬†

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

4,379.02 km2 (1,690.75 mi.2)


284.24 km (176.62 mi.)

  • Orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus)

    A deep water fish species that forms spawning aggregations in the deep waters to the west of Scotland

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Continental slope

    A relatively steeply sloping surface between the outer edge of the continental shelf, the area of seabed around the UK which is shallower than the open ocean, and the deep ocean floor.

  • Offshore subtidal sands and gravels

    Offshore areas of sand and gravel that are offshore and always covered by water. These habitats can support a rich variety of life and support internationally important commercial fisheries, such as those for scallops and flatfish.

  • Seamount communities

    The biological communities found on the large geological structures that are seamounts. These include a range of animals from fragile corals and sponges through to polychaete worms and sea stars that may live in association with sediments on and around se

  • Seamount

    A large-scale undersea topographic feature that rises steeply several hundred meters from the surrounding deep-ocean floor.

  • Geomorphological features representative of The Barra Fan and The Peaches Slide Complex Key Geodiversity Areas: iceberg ploughmark field, prograding wedges, continental slope turbidite canyons, slide deposits, scour moat, continental slope, Hebrides Terr

    A wide range of features resulting from landscape scale changes in the past including iceberg ploughmark field, prograding wedges, continental slope turbidite canyons, slide deposits, scour moat, continental slope, Hebrides Terrace Seamount

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

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