Marine Planning Regions

In Scotland, ‘Marine Regions’ include the coastline and the adjacent inshore waters of sea extending out to 12 nautical miles. In total, there are 11 Scottish Marine Regions, covering 90,404 square kilometres of sea and 18,672 kilometres of coastline (including islands). The intention is to build Marine Planning Partnerships in each Marine Region in order to develop objectives and policies for managing development and activity in a sustainable way, while also protecting the sea and the coastline. The infographic visually compares the surface area of sea and the length of coastline within each Marine Region.

Click on the infographic to enlarge it.

marine planning regions infographic
Supporting Year of Coasts & Waters 2020

Marine regions

Scotland’s National Marine Plan (2015) sets out the main policy framework within which the 11 regional plans are to be developed. Marine Planning Partnerships have already been established for the Clyde and the Shetland Isles, where regional plans are in the process of being prepared.

As illustrated by the infographic, the Outer Hebrides region is the largest. It incorporates 20,849 square kilometres of sea, almost a quarter of the total sea surface area (23%). It also accounts for 3,900 kilometres of coastline, a fifth of Scotland’s coastline (21%).

The region with the smallest sea area is the North Coast, with 2,443 square kilometres (3% of the total). The North East has the shortest length of coastline, with 306 kilometres (2% of the total).

The plan prepared by each of the regional partnerships will have to balance the pressures of development and activity, protecting the marine environment, and the implications of climate change, so that development is sustainable. Issues that need to be addressed will vary across the different regions. For example, some of the smaller regions, like the Clyde and the Forth & Tay, are where most of the population live. As a result, regions like these will have to deal with different pressures to those in the larger but less populated regions.

Visualising the data

The red and blue segments show the proportion of sea and coastline in each of the 11 Marine Regions, allowing comparisons of size and scale to be made. The length of the coastline at the high water mark is shown in kilometres and is shaded red on the inner ring of the infographic. The blue outer rings show the surface area of the sea in square kilometres, with the segments rounded to the nearest 1,000 square kilometres.

The Rockall area, in the North Atlantic to the west of the Outer Hebrides, has not been included in the graphic. Rockall has a sea surface of 1,561 square metres, which has been included within the total for Scotland.


This infographic is a companion to the Longest Scottish Rivers Infographic, both supporting the ‘Year of Coasts and Waters’. The infographics share the same design treatment, applying the same colour scheme and typography to achieve a ‘vintage’ look.


The Scottish Government (2015). Scotland’s National Marine Plan.

This infographic appeared in JONO Design e-news. The e-news is published once every couple of months and each issue contains a specially designed infographic.

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