Yell Sound Coast SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site has been designated to protect the European otters that live here. The otters that live on Shetland are actually different from those which live on the mainland. Within Shetland, the Yell Sound area has the highest density of otters. Harbour seals also live here. The rocky shores and uninhabited islands and skerries support a colony of over 1% of the UK population.

MPA Type

Special Area of Conservation

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under European legislation. They contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Designation date

1 October 1998

Surface Area

15.47 km2 (5.97 mi.2)


89.62 km (55.69 mi.)

  • Common seal (Phoca vitulina)

    Mammals that feed on fish at sea but regularly haul out on to rocky shores or inter-tidal sandbanks to rest, or to give birth and to suckle their pups. Though called ‘common’ they are actually less numerous than the grey seal, which is the other species f

  • Otter (Lutra lutra)

    These fish-eating mammals completely disappeared from the waterways of most of central and southern England in just 50 years, their future now looks much brighter.

Did you know?…

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

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

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