Isles of Scilly - AONB
Colourful Marine Life

Marine environment

The sea is the dominant influence that both unites and divides the islands and contributes to the AONB’s character. The tranquil shallow interior sea contrasts with the churning seas below Hell Bay on Bryher or around Peninnis head on St Mary’s. Scilly is a landscape that changes every few hours with the ebb and flow of the tide. As the tide retreats, the islands ‘grow’. The distances between them recede and the proportions of the archipelago are transformed. At high tide, by contrast, the islands are half submerged and the sense of separateness and isolation is marked. The Green Marine Wildlife Guide is essential Scilly reading about our actions and awareness of marine wildlife.

Scilly is a Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) of European importance. The special features of the SAC include atlantic grey seal and shore dock. The islands also feature a Special Protection Area (SPA) designated for seabird breeding colonies of European significance.

The tourist industry thrives on a range of activities such as specialist boat trips including sea safaris, seal and bird watching trips, fishing, diving and yachting. The islands’ beaches are a valuable habitat for wildlife and for recreation.

Recent research into Scilly’s marine environment includes:

Special features of Scilly’s seascape:

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