Sound of Arisaig (Loch Ailort to Loch Ceann Traigh) SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is important because it aims to protect the important sandbanks found here on the west coast of Scotland. This site is also significant because it is home to some of the most extensive and rich beds of maerl in the UK. Eelgrass also grows in the shallow sand in outer Loch Ailort. 

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

45.50 km2 (17.57 mi.2)


136.18 km (84.62 mi.)

  • Subtidal sandbanks

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

Did you know?…

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

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

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