SACs for Marine Habitats and Species


There are 13 marine habitats and 8 marine species present in the UK that are listed on Annexes I and II of the Habitats Directive.


Annex I Marine Habitats

These Annex I habitats are considered to be marine as they are covered either continuously or intermittently by the sea. Three of these habitats are known to occur within UK offshore waters.

Annex II Marine Species

The Annex II species considered to be marine are listed below. In order to avoid the inclusion of freshwater SACs designated for anadromous/catadromous fish species, sea lamprey, allis shad and twaite shad need to be associated with marine areas (within the SAC) for the site in which they are found to be defined as a ‘SAC with a marine component’.
This also applies to otters, as some SACs contain qualifying otter populations which are either not reliant on the marine environment, or are reliant on marine areas outside SAC boundaries.
Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) is not included in this list as it is very rare in UK waters; as such its conservation through SAC designation is currently considered inappropriate. Equally, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) is considered to be a vagrant in UK waters and therefore SACs will not be designated for this species.
For four of these species the European Commission has stated that additional SACs must be explored. JNCC and the country conservation agencies are further investigating the possibilty of designating additional sites in waters away from the coast. Five marine SACs for harbour porpoise have been designated in Northern Ireland, Welsh and English inshore/offshore waters, joining the site designated in Scottish waters. These join the Skerries and Causeway SAC which records harbour porpoise as a qualifying feature of the site.