Site details

Firth of Lorn and Loch Linnhe complex including Mull
(lookup in gazetteer)
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              Candidate Primary Site

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Synoptic description of site:

The area encompasses extremely tide-swept communities at the north of Jura to sheltered sea loch rock and sediment habitats and exposed coast habitats including known rich examples.


Habitat description:

Wave -sheltered rocky shores, wave-exposed rocky shores, sediment shores (minor), wave sheltered tidal stream-exposed sublittoral rock, sheltered sublittoral rock, sheltered sublittoral sediments.

Pristiness: High


Fjordic sea loch (rock and sediment) and tidal sound as well as open coast biotopes are extensively represented in the proposed region. The area is known for its richness and diversity.


The Scottish Association for Marine Science Laboratory is at the centre of the proposed region.

Available database and website:

Described with further references in Connor & Little 1998 (pp 359-364 in Hiscock, K. (ed.) Marine Nature Conservation Review: Benthic marine ecosystems of Great Britain and the north-east Atlantic. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee). See for MNCR and other survey sites and results.


Additional Information:

The following are specific locations within the area that represent the range of habitats there: Location 1: Name: Gulf of Correvreckan Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): Extremely tide-swept (10 knots) sound dominated subtidally by a low diversity of species (barnacles, hydroids erect bryozoans). Justification: Opportunity to sample communities capable of tolerating of extreme conditions. Communities described by conspicuous species at present. Boat access required and short sample time but weather not limiting. Location 2: Name: Loch Craignish (entrance) Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): Rocky shores include typical sheltered communities. Sublittoral rock communities are particularly rich and include species associated with deep water habitats. Rich sublittoral algal communities occur. Justification: Communities appear to be characteristic of particularly ‘good’ (open coast, high nutrient?) water quality. Site is accessible in most weather conditions. Location 3: Name: Loch Etive Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): A fjordic sea loch with high freshwater input. Extensive areas of sediment are present. Justification: The location is primarily useful for the extensive sediment communities which have been studied in detail in the 1970’s (various paper by Gage and others). Location 4: Name: Loch Creran Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): A shallow sea loch with predominantly sediment communities but with reefs of Serpula vermicularis and Modiolus modiolus. Justification: The only location in Great Britain with extant reefs of Serpula and their associated rich fauna. Also rich horse mussel and seagrass beds are present. A proposed SAC. Location 5: Name: NW Mull (especially Calgary Bay and Clachandu) Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): Intertidal rocky shores with shallow pools particularly highly rated for algal communities. Justification: A variety of rocky shore habitats are represented, some recorded as very rich, and several algal species are at or near their current northern limits. Location 6: Name: Sound of Iona Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): A tide-swept sound with extensive beds of maerl. Justification: Maerl provides a particular sediment habitat with a very ‘open’ structure and an often rich associated flora and fauna. Loaction 7: Name: Loch Sunart Location (coordinates, if possible): Brief description (2 lines): Loch Sunart is a long narrow fjordic sea loch that includes rich sediment habitats with communities characteristic of sea lochs. Justification: The sediment communities are particular to sea lochs and are highly stable and populated by long-lived species. Some areas of coarse sediment are colonised by Limaria hians, their ‘nests’ providing an unusual habitat. Annexes: List here additional input and information on reference sites. Electronic copy of the relevant text from the MNCR volume is appended and photocopied pages from the volume (with maps) are sent by post. Specific locations have been selected to represent the range of habitats and associated communities in the proposed site. Similar habitats occur elsewhere in the area and alternative locations might be agreed with local marine biologists or in association with Scottish Natural Heritage who will be undertaking monitoring at locations in SACs. The Firth of Lorn, Loch Creran and Loch Sunart are proposed Special Areas of Conservation to be established under the EC Habitats Directive.