Forth Islands

Site overview: This site is made up of a number of separate islands or island groups, principally Inchmickery (together with the nearby Cow and Calves) off Edinburgh, Fidra, Lamb and Craigleith together with the Bass Rock off North Berwick, and the much larger Isle of May in the outer part of the Firth. The site also includes additional other small islands. The inner islands are very low lying, whilst those in the outer Firth are higher, steeper and rockier. The islands support important numbers of breeding seabirds, in particular terns, auks and gulls. The colony of gannets is the largest on the east coast of the UK.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Protection Area
MPA Purpose
areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and migratory birds within the European Union


56° 6' 5" North,
2° 45' 58" West

Surface Area

98.02 km2
(37.85 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Marine areas, Sea inlets


  • Razorbill (Alca torda) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Northern gannet (Morus bassanus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)


  • Seabird assemblage


  • Common guillemot (Uria aalge) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Herring gull (Larus argentatus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo) (Annex I (species))
  • Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) (Annex I (species))
  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) (Annex I (species))
  • Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) (Annex I (species))