Sunart oakwoods in springtime, near Salen, Ardnamurchan ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Marine Protected Areas are recognised globally and used here in Scotland as one way to support our marine environment.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protect a wide range of habitats, species, geology and undersea landforms in Scottish waters.

The development of the MPA network has been progressed between Marine Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Natural England, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and NatureScot, working with a wide range of marine stakeholders. We provide guidance and technical advice to Marine Scotland and others on MPAs as part of our role.

Find out more by reading information about the Scottish MPA network. Explore the background to the NCMPA selections and the marine SPA selections. Details of our role and the advice we provide are on the MPA advice page. You can also discover more about individual sites through our SiteLink pages and learn about our Survey and Monitoring work

Update on MPAs

On 25 September 2020 Scottish Ministers announced the designation of the West of Scotland MPA in offshore waters and it will safeguard deep sea sharks, cold-water corals, coral gardens and a diversity of other fauna. This is the largest MPA in UK waters and you can explore the site by watching this JNCC video.

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