Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Mullet/Blacksod Bay Complex SAC

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site proposed as SCI:1999-08
Date site confirmed as SCI: No information provided
Date site designated as SAC: No information provided
National legal reference of SAC designation: No information provided


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE01Border, Midland and Western

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1140  info      1427.82  0.00 
1160  info      11169  0.00 
1170  info      1531.17  0.00 
1310  info      0.0237  0.00 
2120  info      18.9532  0.00 
2130  info      937.072  0.00 
2150  info      10.2876  0.00 
21A0  info  X     608.857  0.00 
3150  info      108.516  0.00 
7230  info      140.66  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA395Anser albifrons flavirostris    56  56   
BA169Arenaria interpres    51  51   
BA046Branta bernicla    212  212   
BA045Branta leucopsis    400  500   
BA144Calidris alba    58  58   
BA149Calidris alpina    26  26   
BA149Calidris alpina    2601  2601   
BA143Calidris canutus    342  342   
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    524  524   
BA137Charadrius hiaticula     
BA038Cygnus cygnus    95  95   
BA153Gallinago gallinago    154  154   
BA003Gavia immer    64  64   
BA001Gavia stellata    45  45   
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    317  317   
BA157Limosa lapponica    552  552   
M1355Lutra lutra          DD 
BA065Melanitta nigra    642  642   
BA070Mergus merganser    50  50   
BA160Numenius arquata    493  493   
P1395Petalophyllum ralfsii    area   
BA170Phalaropus lobatus     
BA140Pluvialis apricaria    700  700   
BA141Pluvialis squatarola    60  60   
BA195Sterna albifrons     
BA164Tringa nebularia     
BA162Tringa totanus    12  12   
BA142Vanellus vanellus    210  210   
BA142Vanellus vanellus    43  43   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Carduelis flavirostris                     
Dactylorhiza traunsteineri                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Ostrea edulis                     
Otiorhynchus arcticus                     
Paracentrotus lividus                     
Phellia gausapata                     
Rana temporaria                     
Rana temporaria                     
Selatosomus melanocholicus                     
Zostera marina                     
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

This large coastal site, located in north-west Mayo, comprises much of the Mullet Peninsula, the sheltered waters of Blacksod Bay and the low-lying sandy coastline from Belmullet to Kinrovar. Blacksod Bay is 16 km in length and 8 km wide at the mouth. It is a shallow bay, reaching a maximum depth of 19 m and with weak tidal streams. The character of the site is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the exposed location of much of it results in a terrestrial landscape dominated by blown sand and largely devoid of trees. In addition to sand dune habitats, other terrestrial habitats include shallow coastal lakes, notably Cross Lough and Termoncarragh Lough, salt marshes, and some rocky shore. The underlying bedrock consists mainly of schists and gneiss. Grazing is the main terrestrial activity, while fishing and recreational activities are carried out in Blacksod Bay.

4.2 Quality and importance

Blacksod Bay has a good range of representative littoral and sublittoral sediment communities. The seagrass, Zostera marina, occurs at several localities and species richness in sublittoral sediment communities is high. There is an interesting and unusual Horse Mussel (Modiolus modiolus) / Purple Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) community. There are large oyster (Ostrea edulis) populations and the rare anemone, Phellia gausapata, is present. The machair and fixed dune habitats are particularly well developed and comprise some of the largest areas of these habitats in Ireland. A fine example of decalcified fixed dunes occurs. A fairly extensive area of alkaline fen, which is subject to a strong maritime influence, occurs at Termoncarragh Lough. Cross Lough is a good example of a naturally eutrophic system and receives large inputs of wind-borne ions from the nearby ocean. Petalophyllum ralfsii has recently been found at two machair areas within the site. The site supports significant populations of nine Annex I Bird Directive species, most notably internationally important populations of wintering Gavia immer and Branta leucopsis, a nationally important population of Limosa lapponica and a regionally important population of Anser albifrons flavirostris. The site is one of the only Irish breeding sites for Phalaropus lobatus though birds have not been recorded in recent years. A good diversity of other wintering waterfowl occur, including internationally important numbers of Branta bernicla horta and Charadrius hiaticula. The site also had important concentrations of breeding waders, especially Calidris alpina and Vanellus vanellus. Lutra lutra occurs throughout much of site.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Bassett, J.A. and Curtis T.G.F. (1985). The nature and occurrence of sand-dune machair in Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 85B: 1-20.Colhoun, K. (1998). I-WeBS Report 1996-97. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Crawford, I., Bleasdale, A. and Conaghan, J. (1996). Biomar survey of Irish machair sites 1996. A report submitted to the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dublin. Curtis, T.G.F. (1991). A site inventory of the sandy coasts of Ireland. In Quigley, M.B. (ed.) A Guide to the Sand Dunes of Ireland. E.U.C.C., Dublin. Curtis, T.G.F. and Sheehy Skeffington, M.J. (1998). The salt marshes of Ireland: an inventory and account of their geographical variation. Biology and the Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 98B: 87-104. Farran, G.P., Knowles, M.C. and Hartmyer, R. (1915). Results of a biological survey of Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo. Fisheries, Ireland, Scientific Investigations 1914, part III.Fox, A.D., Norriss, D.W., Stroud, D.A. and Wilson, H.J. (1994). Greenland White-fronted Geese in Ireland and Britain 1982/83 - 1993/94. Greenland White-fronted Goose Study research report no. 8. Greenland White-fronted Goose Study, Wales and National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dublin. Goodwillie, R. (1979). Report on Areas of Scientific Interest in County Mayo. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Hannon, C., Berrow, S.D., and Newton S.F. (1997). The status and distribution of breeding Sandwich Sterna sandvicensis, Roseate S. dougallii, Common S. hirundo, Arctic S. paradisaea and Little Terns S. albifrons in Ireland in 1995. Irish Birds 6: 1-22.Holyoak, D.T. (1999). Report on Surveys of Petalophyllum ralfsii in Co. Mayo and Co. Galway, Western Ireland, 16-22 April 1999. Unpublished report to Duchas The Heritage Service, National Parks and Wildlife, Dublin. Johnson, W.F. (1918). The Purple Sea-urchin at Inishkeel, Co. Donegal. Irish Naturalist, 27: 10-11.Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of seabird breeding colonies in Republic of Ireland, Unpublished report, Forestry and Wildlife Service, Dublin.Lockhart, N. (1998). Report on Survey of Petalophyllum ralfsii at Dooyork and Doolough Machairs, Co. Mayo. Unpublished report to Duchas The Heritage Service, National Parks and Wildlife, Dublin.Madden, B., Cooney, T., ODonoghue, A., Norriss, D.W. and Merne, O.J. (1998). Breeding waders of machair systems in Ireland in 1996. Irish Birds 6: 177-190.Merne, O.J. (1989). Important bird areas in the Republic of Ireland. In: Grimmett, R.F.A. and Jones, T.A. (eds) Important Bird Areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9. Cambridge. Merne, O.J. and Walsh, A. (1994). Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1993 and 1994. Irish Birds 5: 151-156. Nairn, R.G.W. and Sheppard, J.R. (1985). Breeding birds of sand dune machair in north-west Ireland. Irish Birds 3: 53-70. Picton, B.E. (1985). Anthozoans (Coelenterata: Anthozoa) new to Ireland and new records of some rarely recorded species. Irish Naturalists Journal, 21: 484-488Praeger, R.L (1934) The Botanist in Ireland. Hodges & Figgis, Dublin.Roden, C.M. (1999). A Survey of Coastal lakes in Counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Unpublished report for the Heritage Council. Ruttledge, R.F. (1994). Birds in Counties Galway and Mayo. An account of their status and distribution. Irish Wildlbird Conservancy, Dublin. Sheppard, R. (1993). Irelands Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Walsh, A. and Merne, O.J. (1988). Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1988. Irish Birds 3: 539-550. Whilde, A. (1985). The All Ireland Tern Survey 1984. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin. Whittow, J.B. (1975). Geology and Scenery in Ireland, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
Blacksod Bay and Broadhaven0.00
IE21Termoncarragh Lake+1.00
IE21Annagh Marsh+1.00

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other Blacksod Bay and Broadhaven0.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

No information provided

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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