Moray Firth SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site in north-east Scotland is home to the only known resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the North Sea. Around 130 of these beautiful animals live here all year round. 

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

1,513.48 km2 (584.36 mi.2)


389.30 km (241.90 mi.)

  • 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

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 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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

The future of fisheries is being decided

Fisheries CampaignThe UK government has opened a public consultation asking how we think they should manage our fisheries after Brexit through a new Fisheries Bill.

Act now!