|Loch Creran MPA|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Argyll and Bute, Scotland|
|Area||1,200 ha (4.6 sq mi)|
Loch Creran is a sea loch in Argyll, on the west coast of Scotland. It is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) long from its head at Invercreran to its mouth on the Lynn of Lorne, part of Loch Linnhe. The loch separates the areas of Benderloch to the south and Appin to the north. The island of Eriska lies at the mouth of the loch. The loch is bridged at its narrowest point at Creagan, by the A828 road. The village of Barcaldine lies on the south shore of the loch.
The loch narrows and becomes shallower at both Eriska and Creagan, meaning that tidal currents are accelerated through these points. This provides aeration and nutrition to the beds of flame shell and horse mussel that are a feature of the loch. Between these shallow zones lie deeper basins in which the water is more still, proving a habitat for Norway lobster and seapen. In 2014 the entire loch (an area of 1,200 hectares (12 km2)) was declared a Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area, to protect its flame shell beds and quaternary geological features. Within the MPA the use of fishing gear that may damage the seabed is prohibited, although rod and line fishing and creeling is permitted. The MPA is designated a Category IV protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is also protected as a Special Area of Conservation.
At the head of Loch Creran lies the Glasdrum Wood national nature reserve, an internationally important atlantic oakwood managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, classified as both a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This predominantly ash and oak woodland is home to butterflies like the rare chequered skipper, as well as being frequented by otters.
- "Loch Creran MPA(NC)". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- Council, Argyll and Bute (11 January 2011). "Loch Creran Guide". Argyll and Bute Council.
- "Loch Creran Marine Protected Area Site Summary". Scottish Government. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Horse mussel beds". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Scottish Statutory Instrument 2015 No. 435: The Inshore Fishing (Prohibition of Fishing and Fishing Methods) (Scotland) Order 2015". Queen’s Printer for Scotland. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "Loch Creran in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Protected Planet. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "Loch Creran SAC". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserves". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Glen Creran Woods SSSI". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Glen Creran Woods SAC". NatureScot. Retrieved 11 October 2020.