Jewel anemones (John Archer-Thomson)


The Pembrokeshire Marine SAC is one of the largest marine designated sites in the UK.

As with many marine areas there is a huge variety of things going on in the site at any one-time including development, recreational activities, industry and conservation.

Due to this vast range, site management must work by trying to create a balance between these activities and to try and promote sustainable development and best practice in all activities to help protect the marine environment and to ensure it continues to support the many different interests and uses.

Church Rock South Pembrokeshire (Sue Burton)


The 1992 Rio Earth Summit put biodiversity firmly on the global political agenda. In response, The Habitats Directive was adopted (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna). This is the legislation behind Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and it is transposed into UK law through The Habitats Regulations (The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).

Each SAC is designated for particular habitats and species, and they are to be managed in ways that help conserve those habitats and species.

The site was first identified as a Possible Special Area of Conservation in March 1995, followed by public consultation. The Pembrokeshire Islands possible SAC was submitted by the UK Government to the European Commission as a candidate SAC in October 1997. The Pembrokeshire Islands SAC was renamed during the moderation process in 2000 as the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC. The site was finally designated in December 2004.

Star sea squirt (Seasearch - David Kipling)
Sea gooseberry

Where is it?

Pembrokeshire Marine SAC extent and boundaries

Kelp forest

Why is the site important?

Marine conservation affects us all


Marine conservation in Pembrokeshire

Other marine protected area designations