Cardigan Bay/ Bae Ceredigion SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This area stretches from Ceibwr Bay in Pembrokeshire to Aberarth in Ceredigion and goes out to almost 20km from the coast, covering about 1000km2 of sea. Bottlenose dolphins and grey seals call this area home, as well as river and sea Lampreys which are an ancient type of fish with a suckered mouth. You can even catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphin calves here, as they breed in these waters. 

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 January 1996

Surface Area

958.63 km2 (370.13 mi.2)


157.19 km (97.67 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.

  • Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)

    A primitive jawless fish that looks a bit like an eel.

  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

    The most well known and familiar of all the dolphins. A highly intelligent predators feed on fish, squid and shrimp.

  • Subtidal sandbanks

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

  • 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?…

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed

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

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers