Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network

Scotland’s existing network of Marine Protected Areas consists of more than 180 designated areas.

A network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) helps to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and undersea landforms.

Developing Scotland’s network of MPAs is part of a wider strategy to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to a “clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature”.

A well-managed network of MPAs will:

  • protect important marine habitats and species
  • deliver benefits for our marine environments
  • support coastal communities
  • help sustain marine industries
  • provide for recreational uses

Scotland’s network includes:

Developing the MPA network

To strengthen the existing MPA network, Scottish Ministers designated a suite of NCMPAs in July 2014. This was possible thanks to powers granted by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the UK-wide Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Covering more than 10% of our seas, the 30 NCMPAs will help to deliver a healthy, productive and biologically diverse marine environment for Scotland. The NCMPAs give much-needed spatial protection to a wide range of marine wildlife, habitats and geology not previously covered by the network.

Also in July 2014, we submitted our formal advice to the Scottish Government on a second tranche of four further NCMPAs to complete the network.



Find out more

Scotland’s Special Seas: Hidden wonders revealed

Different types of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland

Marine Protected Area FAQs