Sea of the Hebrides

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The Sea of the Hebrides (Scottish Gaelic: An Cuan Barrach, pronounced [ən̪ˠ ˈkʰuan ˈparˠəx])[1] is a small, partly sheltered section of the North Atlantic Ocean, indirectly off the southern part of the north-west coast of Scotland. To the east are the mainland of Scotland and the northern Inner Hebrides (including Skye and the Small Isles); to the west are the southern Outer Hebrides islands, principally South Uist, Eriskay, and Barra. To the north is the Little Minch, a channel connecting it with the Minch.[2]

The Sea of the Hebrides forms part of the Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland, as defined by the International Hydrographic Organization,[3] and part of the Seas west of Scotland as far as fisheries management is concerned.

Ending on 30 August 2019, the Scottish Government consulted on a proposal to designate the Sea of the Hebrides a Marine Protected Area (MPA).[4] The designation was confirmed in December 2020.[5] The designated area of the MPA covers 1,003,900 hectares (10,039 km2), mainly to protect the area's population of basking sharks and minke whales.[6]


  1. ^ "An Cuan Barrach: Roinn Dìon Mara shealadach" (PDF) (in Scottish Gaelic). Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  2. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Sea of the Hebrides. Eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
  3. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Possible Marine Protected Area Consultation". Scottish Government.
  5. ^ "New sites given special status to protect marine life". BBC. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  6. ^ "SiteLink: Sea of the Hebrides MPA(NC)". NatureScot. Retrieved 10 December 2020.

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Coordinates: 57°N 7°W / 57°N 7°W / 57; -7