A hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus on a blade of Zostera marina seagrass. Gruinard Bay. Photographer: Graham Saunders. © SNH. All rights reserved. Please contact CMEU for details, snhmarinephotos@nature.scot

Background to NCMPA selection

Find out about the background to the selection of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas in Scotland’s seas.

Contribution of existing protected areas

Read the Contribution of existing protected areas to the MPA network and identification of remaining MPA search feature priorities

This reports on our assessment of the presence and distribution of Marine Protected Area (MPA) search features – a selection of marine habitats and species – within existing protected areas. Detailed assessments were completed for each MPA search feature, based on available data.

You can also view a list of the documents used in this assessment:

Read the Contribution of existing protected areas and detailed ecological guidance

Development of detailed ecological guidance

Read the Development of detailed ecological guidance to support the application of the Scottish MPA Selection Guidelines in Scotland’s Seas: Commissioned Report No. 491

To support the MPA Selection Guidelines being applied consistently in relation to the Scottish MPA Project, we provided detailed ecological guidance on selected marine habitats and species. Read the report to find out how the guidance was produced and to understand the terms used.

You can also view a list of documents summarising our understanding of the ecology of the proposed protected features of the proposed Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPAs):

Read the Contribution of existing protected areas and detailed ecological guidance

Background to site assessments

Read about the purpose of the technical site documents used to assess the 17 proposed inshore NCMPAs during the 2013 consultation:

MPA research reports

In 2010, we began a programme of marine surveys to learn more about Scottish seas as part of the Scottish MPA Project.

Search our publications for marine reports.

Marine surveys gather a range of environmental data, for example, to:

  • chart the distribution, extent, quality and health of marine species
  • validate species records
  • carry out annual population counts
  • map the depth and type of seabed

Surveys may involve:

  • long periods at sea using equipment such as side-scan sonar, drop-down video and sediment grabs
  • scuba diving to take a close-up look at Scotland’s marine habitats and species
  • aerial photography to conduct seal population counts
  • satellite tracking to trace the movements of basking sharks off Scotland’s west coast

Data from each survey is processed, analysed and published as a report.

Last updated: