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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 12:14 GMT
Task force to shape marine laws
Fish poking out of a fishing net at sea
Scottish waters generate millions of pounds for the economy
A task force which will help shape new laws to protect Scotland's coast and marine environment has been announced.

The 26 members of the group bring together environmental, industrial and scientific opinion to consider proposals for the new marine bill.

It will also look at what further powers should be devolved to Scotland.

The Scottish Government said there were too many pieces of legislation regulating Scotland's waters and a streamlined approach was needed.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has also backed an "offshore zone" - between 12 and 200 nautical miles from the shore - and said that Holyrood gaining powers from Westminster, especially on marine planning and nature conservation, was a "much needed priority".

Natural resource

"In Scotland we have over 11,000 km of coastline and our waters generate millions of pounds for the economy," he said.

"Wildlife enthusiasts from around the world flock to see the internationally significant species of birds, seals and dolphins that live in and around our waters.

"To protect this valuable natural resource, we must promote the sustainable use of our coasts and seas."

Scottish Fisherman's Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the group.

SEE ALSO
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Marine protection plan unveiled
20 Dec 07 |  Science/Nature
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