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Flame shell reef discovery

A huge colony of an elusive and brightly coloured shellfish species – numbering at least 100 million – has been revealed in coastal waters in the west of Scotland.

The Marine Scotland commissioned survey of Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and the Scottish mainland, has uncovered an extensive bed of flame shells, covering an area of 75 hectares. The overall population of flame shells in this area is likely to exceed 100 million and is the largest known flame shell reef anywhere in the UK – and possibly the world.

As part of the work to identify new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Marine Scotland has coordinated a programme of eight surveys during 2012, including Loch Alsh, covering more than 640 square miles of sea.

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