North West Rockall Bank SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is located in the north-east Atlantic, approximately 400 kilometers west of the Outer Hebrides. This is a large site measuring approximately 450 kilometers in length and 200 kilometers in width.  Coral reefs can be found here and Rockall Bank, within the site, is potentially one of the largest sites for biogenic reef formed by cold water coral species in the UK. The North West area of the Rockall Bank is covered in a layer of fine sediment, gravel, cobbles and boulders of glacial origin, some of which were shaped into ploughmark formations by icebergs during the last ice age.  Squat lobsters, sea cucumbers, and the bluemouth red fish call this area home. 

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 August 2010

Surface Area

4,368.14 km2 (1,686.55 mi.2)


438.74 km (272.62 mi.)

  • 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?…

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

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

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