Small Isles NCMPA - designation documents

Small Isles Nature Conservation MPA is home to the UK’s only known colony of rare fan mussels.

Small Isles summary front cover

Designated to protect one of Scotland’s most diverse seabed habitats, the Small Isles NCMPA covers over 800 square kilometres of waters around the islands of Rum, Canna and the low-lying rocky islet of Oigh-sgeir. It also envelops the Sound of Canna, a submerged valley that drops away to a depth of more than 250m and holds one of Scotland's treasures – the UK's only colony of rare fan mussels.

Conservation objectives

Conserve the protected features of the Small Isles NCMPA

Protected features


  • black guillemot
  • burrowed mud
  • circalittoral sand and mud communities
  • fan mussel aggregations
  • horse mussel beds
  • northern feather star aggregations on mixed substrata
  • northern sea fan and sponge communities
  • shelf deeps
  • white cluster anemones

Geodiversity: Quaternary of Scotland – glaciated channels/troughs, glacial lineations, meltwater channels, moraines, streamlined bedforms

Related links

Small Isles Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area Order 2016

Document downloads


Marine Protected Areas

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Disclaimer: Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has changed its name to NatureScot as of the 24th August 2020. 
At the time of publishing, this document may still refer to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and include the original branding. It may also contain broken links to the old domain.
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