Loch Laxford SAC

Sanday SAC - fisheries management map

Loch Laxford, on the west coast of Scotland, is a complex fjard with numerous small islands and side branches that include two subsidiary lochs. It is an excellent example of large shallow inlets and bays and contains a wide variety of marine habitats and communities. The outermost part of the site is very exposed, but the many reefs and islands near to the narrow loch entrance result in sheltered conditions over most of the loch. The most important area for sediments, a sheltered littoral inlet at the head of the loch, contains the only extensive sheltered sediment shore in the northern part of the west coast. The soft muds of the inner subsidiary loch, Loch a’Chadh-Fi, contain particularly dense beds of the anemone Sagartiogeton laceratus, and the snake blenny Lumpenus lumpretaeformis (which usually occurs in burrows in deeper water) is also common here. In the outer more exposed reaches of the site, coarser sediments predominate supporting sea cucumbers, hydroids, heart-urchins and bivalves. Beds of maerl Phymatolithon calcareum, with their associated species-rich communities, also occur in various channels of the loch[1].

The public consultation for fisheries management measures in this site ran until 2nd February 2015. This site now has fisheries management measures in place.

Read our response to the proposed management measures:

Save Scottish Seas campaign members have assessed the Scottish Government’s proposed management measures for this MPA part of its consultation response.

We fully support the management approach for Loch Laxford SAC.
We agree with the management advice to remove/avoid pressure from mobile demersal fishing gear
for maërl beds and reefs. These habitats provide shelter and substrate for a variety of juvenile fish
and shellfish and epifaunal invertebrates and are therefore important in terms of its environmental
value and benefit to commercial stocks.
Loch Laxford and the surrounding catchment area is locally important for recreational angling, as
wild salmon migrate between the Loch and the River Laxford each year. Salmon feed on a variety of
aquatic invertebrates and small fish, and habitats such as maërl and reef as well as soft muds are
well known to support important prey species for these (and other) predatory fish.

[1] Loch Laxford SAC site summary, SNH

Contact the Save Scottish Seas team

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