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Special Areas of Conservation

Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh Reefs

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Extra-Regio, Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NG845261
Latitude 57.275
Longitude -5.575
SAC EU Code UK0017077
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 2373.01
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh Reefs SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (95%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (5%)

Download the Natura 2000 standard data form for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1170 Reefs

    This site is an extensive area of extremely sheltered reefs within a system of fjordic sea lochs in north-west Scotland. There is considerable diversity within the site, with areas of sheltered sublittoral rock supporting unusual assemblages of encrusting sponges and solitary ascidians, and, on shallower reefs, tide-swept kelp forests influenced by brackish water. Loch Duich is particularly notable for its well-developed communities of brachiopods and sea anemones on sheltered bedrock. Characteristic species include the sea anemone Protanthea simplex, the fan-worm Sabella pavonina, and the brachiopods Neocrania anomala and Terebratulina retusa. The reefs in Kyle Rhea and Kyle Akin are subject to some of the strongest tidal streams in the UK, and the bedrock in Kyle Rhea supports rich communities typically dominated by the hydroids Tubularia indivisa and Sertularia argentea, the barnacle Balanus crenatus, anemones, sponges and ascidians. Tide-swept reefs in Loch Alsh also support unusually dense beds of the brittlestar Ophiopholis aculeata, an extremely rare feature in the UK. The sheltered reefs in Loch Long, the second most brackish of the large Scottish sea lochs, are unusual in that they are subject to variable salinities and support communities characterised by encrusting sponges and large numbers of ascidians, such as Ascidia virginea, Boltenia echinata and Pyura squamulosa.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.