Other Candidate of Possible SACs

Of the localities designated as candidate or possible SACs, the Loch Alsh/Duich/Long system contains the only examples of Ophiopholis-dominated beds (biotope MCR.Oph.Oacu). This enhances the conservation importance of the site. It would be interesting to know more of the dynamics of these beds, for comparison with the more common and better-studied Ophiothrix-dominated examples. At the time of Connor’s (1989) report there appeared to be little threat to the biotopes of this loch system, although he noted that leases for salmon farms had been granted in Lochs Alsh and Duich. An expansion of fish farming in the area might have some adverse effects on the benthic communities due to the highly-enclosed situation of the lochs. Monitoring the effects of any new aquaculture developments should therefore be the highest managment priority if the site is designated as an SAC.

Next Section                     References