Special Areas of Conservation for Harbour porpoise

Five harbour porpoise Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Wales, Northern Ireland and England and Wales Offshore Waters (beyond 12 nautical miles) were submitted to the European Commission as candidate SACs on 30 January 2017, after Cross-Governmental clearance.

Site Information Centres (SICs) are now available on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s website for the five cSACs:

  1. Bristol Channel Approaches cSAC
  2. West Wales Marine cSAC
  3. North Anglesey Marine cSAC
  4. North Channel cSAC
  5. Southern North Sea cSAC

The process to identify sites was developed by the Inter-Agency Marine Mammal Working Group (IAMMWG) involving all UK statutory agencies.  These five sites were subject to a public consultation between January and May 2016 and are shown in the map below.

Candidate SAC (sSAC) for Harbour porpoise
Candidate SAC (sSAC) for Harbour porpoise

The submitted cSACs have been identified based on analysis of 18 years of comprehensive data on harbour porpoise distribution.  These areas were identified as important, having persistently higher densities of harbour porpoise compared to other areas, and will complement existing conservation measures in place throughout UK waters for whales and dolphins.

There are now a total of 7 SACs for the Harbour porpoise in the UK.  The Skerries and Causeway, SAC was submitted in 2012 and the Scottish Government submitted one site for harbour porpoise, the Inner Hebrides and the Minches, to the EC in September 2016. 

Further information

Enquiries regarding the harbour porpoise cSACs should be directed to Marine Conservation and Reporting Team Marine and Fisheries Division:

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