In response to provisions to designate new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009), NatureScot and JNCC have generated a focused list of habitats and species of importance in Scottish waters - the Priority Marine Features (PMFs). A subset of these, termed MPA search features, will drive the designation of Nature Conservation MPAs. A Marine Scotland funded survey to Lochs Duich, Alsh, Fyne and Creran was commissioned to identify and validate a number of target MPA search features and to obtain an understanding of their distribution, extent and condition. The target search features included Limaria, Modiolus and maerl beds and, within Loch Duich, burrowed and deep mud habitats. This report outlines the methodologies and results of the survey which include finding the largest known flame shell bed in Scottish waters in Loch Alsh covering 75 ha.
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