North Rona SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

North Rona is a remote island in the North Atlantic off the north-west tip of mainland Scotland. One creature protected by this area is the grey seal. The islands are an excellent place for seals as they are rarely disturbed by people in the breeding season. Grey seals are found over much of the island and use many of the submerged sea caves that are found around the coast. North Rona supports the third-largest breeding colony in the UK, representing some 5% of annual UK pup numbers. 

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 1996

Surface Area

6.28 km2 (2.43 mi.2)


9.77 km (6.07 mi.)

  • Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)

    Among the rarest seals in the world - the UK population makes up 40% of the total global population. Grey seals spend most of their life at sea, only coming ashore to breed.

  • Submerged or partially submerged sea caves

    Typically associated with reefs, caves that are either underwater all the time or welcome the sea at high tides, caves provide a habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.

  • Reefs

    Areas where the bedrock, stable boulders and cobbles or structures created by animals arise from the surrounding seabed. They attract and provide a home to a huge variety of plant and animal life.

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