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 180 designated areas. This network helps to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and undersea landforms.

In July 2014, to strengthen this MPA network, Scottish Ministers designated a suite of 30 Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPAs) – 17 of which are in Scottish territorial waters.

The Scottish MPA Project is an ongoing joint initiative 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.