South-East Islay Skerries SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

The Skerries islands and the rugged coastline of the Inner Hebridean island of Islay hold a nationally important population of Harbour seals. The south-east coastline areas are used by the seals as pupping, moulting and haul-out sites. These seals make up between 1.5% and 2% of the total UK population. 

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 September 2001

Surface Area

14.99 km2 (5.79 mi.2)


53.52 km (33.26 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

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’