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.

Scotland’s existing network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) consists of more than 217 sites for nature conservation . This network helps to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and undersea landforms.

The development of the MPA network has been progressed between Marine Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage. We provide guidance and technical advice to Marine Scotland on NCMPAs as part of our role in the Scottish MPA Project.

You can explore the formal advice from Scottish Natural Heritage on the selection of NCMPAs in Scotland’s seas. Or read about the background to the NCMPA selections.