Dornoch Firth and Morrich More SAC
This site contains one of the largest estuaries in the UK. The estuary is fed by the Kyle of Sutherland and is virtually unaffected by industrial development. The site contains both the river and the sea that it feeds into, and so there is both salty and fresh water here - along with creatures that like these conditions. The mudflats provide a perfect home for burrowing worms and eelgrass grows on the muddy bed. Harbour seals and the European otter call this area home. Seals can be seen ‘hauling’ out of the sea onto the shores of the estuary.
MPA TypeSpecial 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 date1 January 1996
Surface Area87.10 km2 (33.63 mi.2)
Perimeter105.53 km (65.57 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.
Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)
Areas with specially adapted plants found in the upper reaches of saltmarshes that are not always reached by the tide. The habitat is used for grazing, but is also very important for birds.
The downstream part of a river, where it nears the sea, which is influenced by the tide These complex habitats can include areas always submerged by the tide as well as those exposed at low tide. They can be exceptionally important feeding and breeding ar
- Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time
Glasswort and other annuals colonising mud and sand (Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand)
Specialised plants able to thrive in the lower reaches of saltmarshes where the vegetation is frequently flooded by the tide. It is important as it can help the development of more stable saltmarsh.
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 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘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
To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’