Facts and figures about Scotland's sea area (coastline length, sea area in sq kms)

Data Type: 
Documents
Description: 

Facts and figures about Scotland’s seas

 

Table 1 - Coastline length

At LW mark *

At HW mark *

18,002 kms

18,672 kms

Source: * Scottish Government - created from OS Boundary Line 2007 and OS Mastermap: coastline length at minimum scale 1:10,000.

 

Table 2 - Islands

Inhabited**

Uninhabited

118

in excess of 800

Source: **General Register Office for Scotland based on 2010 postcode data.

 

Table 3 - Scottish sea areas

 

Description

Area (kms2) (approx.)

1

HW mark to territorial sea baseline (Internal Waters)***

34,920

2

Territorial sea baseline to 3 n miles (Water Framework Directive limit) ***

13,790

3

Area of sea within WFD limit (internal waters & territorial waters) (1 + 2)

48,710

4

Territorial sea baseline to 12 n miles (Territorial Waters)***

55,484

5

HW mark to Territorial Sea limit (12 n miles) = Territorial Waters (1+4)

90,404

6

Territorial sea outside WFD (5 – 3)

41,694

7

3 n mile to EEZ limit (EEZ outside WFD) (9-3)

413,553

8

12 n mile limit to EEZ limit *** (9-5)

371,859

9

Total sea area inside EEZ limit (EEZ waters)

462,263

Source: *** High water mark from OS Boundary Line 2013. Straight baselines, closing bays and 12nm limits courtesy of UKHO, accurate as of April 2014.  Internal waters estimated by joining straight baselines and closing bays to low water mark which as derived from OS Boundary Line 2007, except for area around Shetland, Orkney and Stornoway, which was derived from OS MasterMap.  All area calculations on Albers Equal Area Conic projection using transformation EPSG 1311 (WGS84 to ED50).

 

Table 4 - UK sea area

Description

Area (km2)

Approx. %

Total UK sea area to EEZ limit

743,965

100%

Scottish seas

462,263

62%

English seas

229,966

31%

Welsh seas

30,754

4%

Northern Ireland seas

6,717

1%

Guernsey seas

7,342

1%

Jersey seas

2,965

½ %

Isle of Man seas

3,957

½ %

Scotland land area (to mean low water)

80,060

 

Sea area : land area ratio

5.85 : 1

 

 

Table 5 – Scottish Marine Regions

Region

Area (km2)

Distance along MHWS (km)*

Solway

3,724

774

Clyde

4,279

1,251

Argyll

12,045

2,907

Outer Hebrides

20,849

3,900

West Highlands

10,421

3,642

North Coast

2,443

542

Orkney Islands

9,256

1,224

Shetland Isles

12,310

2,373

Moray Firth

5,876

981

North East

3,153

306

Forth and Tay

4,487

772

(Rockall)**

1,561

 

Total

90,404

18,672

*This includes skerries, islets etc

**Rockall has 12nm limit but is not included within SMRs

Area and distances calculated on Europe Albers Equal Area Conic projection (ESRI:102013) using transformations EPSG:1311 (Rockall) and EPSG:1315 (SMRs), and rounded to zero decimal places.

 

Notes

  • The baseline (from which the limits of the Territorial Sea are measured) will move depending on the latest surveys of the low water (LW) mark.  LW is generally the datum for baselines except where straight baselines (established in legislation) or bay closing lines are used. The areas defined as “bays” vary over time due to improvements in surveys and  GIS software.
  • The new Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), declared in March 2014, established a new boundary that generally follows the existing continental shelf limits (except in the area beyond 200 miles). This gives a slightly reduced sea area compared with the area within the previous fishery limits.
  • The area of sea will vary depending on the resolution of the coastline used in calculations. A higher resolution coastline introduces more variations – indents or extrusions - which are smoothed out when using a more generalized coast line. When measuring Scotland’s sea area, a higher resolution coastline introduces more small islands which has the effect of increasing coastline length but reducing the sea area.

This information can be downloaded as a word document from the link below.