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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
MSPs hear island fishing ban plan
Lamlash. Picture courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland
Coast hope the "no take zone" will allow the sea bed to regenerate
Campaigners for Scotland's first "no take zone" for fishermen have met MSPs on the Isle of Arran.

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast) wants fishing banned in part of the island's waters to regenerate the sea bed and sensitive sea life.

Coast claims to represent 1,600 people on Arran, a fifth of the population of the west coast island.

It wants fishing stopped in a small area of Lamlash Bay to allow it to return to its natural state.

The campaigners point out that in such zones around the world the size of fish and lobsters increased by a third and became twice as abundant.

We are only asking for a very small area to be protected for just 10 years to see how much of a positive effect it has
Don Macneish

They believe this would enhance the site for sport diving and tourism generally.

The group has petitioned the Scottish Parliament and its case was considered by members of Holyrood's environment committee during their visit to the island.

The session was billed by the MSPs as a fact-finding visit, which would be used during their considerations.

Coast member Don Macneish said seaweeds such as maerl and seagrass would be allowed to flourish during the fishing ban, attracting more sea life to the area.

Divers visiting the spot over the past 35 years have noticed a wildlife decline, he added.

Mr Macneish said: "We are only asking for a very small area to be protected for just 10 years to see how much of a positive effect it has.

"It is within the remit of the minister and his civil servants to establish the 'no take zone' and we have overwhelming community and political support for it."

Fishing issue prompts trust anger
08 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West

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