Barra to be designated a SAC

barraThe Sound of Barra in the Western Isles is be designated a site of Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The Scottish government said the move would protect a pristine marine environment and give its wildlife and habitats international recognition.

Local fishermen and Rory MacNeil, chief of Clan MacNeil of Barra, opposed plans for SAC status fearing it would restrict fishing. The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) backed the SAC plans, describing the Sound of Barra as one of “Scotland’s wildlife jewels”. It said the area’s sandbanks, reefs and harbour seal habitats needed greater protection.

SWT also said the area contained possibly the largest beds in the UK of the coral-like seaweed, maerl.

The government’s decision follows an independent review examining the scientific case for the designation.

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