West Shetland Shelf NCMPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is located in the north of Scotland in offshore waters and overlaps with the Windsock Fisheries Area which is managed for the recovery of cod. There is lots of sand and gravel here which provides a valuable home to sea creatures. Anemones and several types of crab live between the small rocks, whilst urchins and starfish roam the sandy areas. Several species of fish, including cod, plaice, bass, skate and rays also live here. 

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

4,086.97 km2 (1,577.99 mi.2)


302.17 km (187.76 mi.)

  • 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.

Did you know?…

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

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