Scotland has some of the most beautiful and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Protected areas are used to ensure protection of some of the most vulnerable species and habitats.



The Scottish MPA network protection of biodiversity, includes sites for nature conservation, protecting our heritage and demonstrating sustainable management.



The network covers approximately 22% of our seas and comprises of:



  • 217 sites for nature conservation protecting a broad range of habitats and species that are found in our seas.  Habitats range from rocky shores and sea caves at the coastline to deep sea habitats such as coral gardens and Lophelia pertusa.  Species range from harbour porpoise to Flapper skate to puffins.
  • 5 other area based measures which protect species such as sandeels and blue ling, as well as vulnerable marine ecosystems.
  • 1 Demonstration and Research MPA around Fair Isle to investigate the factors affecting seabird populations demonstrate the socio-economic benefits of the marine environment
  • 8 Historic MPAs to preserve sites of historical importance



In December 2018 Scottish Ministers laid a report in the Scottish Parliament describing progress with implementing the MPA network.