The Pembrokeshire Marine SAC was selected as containing excellent European examples of the following ‘conservation features’. Conservation, or interest, features are the habitats and species for which a site is designated. The Pembrokeshire Marine site is particularly diverse, with eight Habitats Directive Annex I habitat types and seven Annex II species (almost the longest list of any marine SAC in the UK).
Large shallow inlets and bays
Mud and sand flats
Atlantic salt meadow
Sea & River Lampreys
Allis & Twaite Shads
A short description of each conservation feature is below. For more detail visit the individual page.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) gather information about these features of the site to build our understanding of how they are doing and help to identify and address any pressures or threats they may be facing. Some reports can be found at Natural Resources Wales / Marine and coastal evidence reports.
This information helps with feature condition assessment reporting (see Progress).
Gathering data underwater is of course more difficult than looking around on land. Even knowing what is where is a challenge. An indication of where these features are within the site can be seen at Pembrokeshire Marine non-interactive A3 map (cyfoethnaturiol.cymru).
As well as extensive areas of underwater rocky reef stretching offshore from the wild open coast, rocky reefs can also be found throughout the more sheltered environment of the Milford Haven waterway. And intertidal reefs make for good rock pooling!
Large shallow inlets and bays are usually large indentations of the coast that are generally more sheltered from wave action than the open coast and are relatively shallow, usually averaging less than 30m in depth.
Sandy areas of seabed permanently covered by shallow sea water are home to rich communities of animals. They can be important nursery areas for fish and feeding grounds for seabirds.
Sea caves are formed where the specific geology of an area allows for the weathering and erosion of material to create overhangs, clefts, caves and tunnels.
Shore dock is one of Europe’s most threatened endemic vascular plants. The UK is the world stronghold for this species. Shore dock is currently known to occur in only one site within the SAC.