Norwegian boundary sediment plain
Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area
United Kingdom: Scotland
Located to the east of Scotland in offshore waters, the Norwegian Boundary Sediment Plain NCMPA (Nature Conservation MPA) lies adjacent to the boundary line with Norwegian waters.
A sandy plain in relatively shallow waters, the NCMPA has been designated as it is important for ocean quahog. This thick-shelled clam-like animal can live more than 400 years, making it one of the longest-living creatures on Earth. Like tree rings, the age of ocean quahog can be determined by counting the shell layers that they form each year, which also provide information on how our climate has changed over time. Ocean quahog filter food from passing currents, and use a shovel-like „foot‟ to bury into the sand and mud. To escape predators, they can burrow even deeper into the sediment and live for long periods without food or oxygen. Ocean quahog are an important food source for several species of fish, including cod. Although they are not specific to one type of habitat, sands and gravels are the oceans quahog‟s preferred habitat.