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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 11:06 GMT
Fishing ban protects island bay
Lamlash. Picture courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland
Coast hope the "no take zone" will allow the sea bed to regenerate
A marine conservation area off the Isle of Arran, which campaigners say will protect thousands of species, has been announced by the Scottish Government.

The "no-take zone" bans fishing in a small area of Lamlash Bay.

Conservationists from the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast) lobbied ministers for the marine reserve.

Chairman Howard Wood described the regeneration project as exciting. He added: "The island community is delighted with the announcement."

Coast believes the ban will help protect the local fish and shellfish populations as well as the maerl seaweed beds.

The proposals strike a balance between fishing and marine conservation
Richard Lochhead
Environment Secretary

The conservation organisation has argued that if the area is allowed to return to its natural state, fish and lobster will become twice as abundant and the number of species will increase by a third.

Richard Lochhead, secretary for rural affairs and the environment, said: "The conservation area proposals... are the first of their kind in Scotland.

"The proposals strike a balance between fishing and marine conservation.

"We will see fisheries management in one part of the bay, the safeguarding of the natural marine environment in the other and a boost in tourism for the whole of Arran."

Kenneth MacNab, chairman of the Clyde Fishermen's Association, said: "The association is pleased that, after a lengthy process, a satisfactory outcome has been reached in the Lamlash Bay process.

"We are ready to play our role in the ongoing management of the bay."

The plans will now go out to consultation for 12 weeks.

SEE ALSO
Marine conservation plea issued
10 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
MSPs hear island fishing ban plan
31 Aug 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Fishing issue prompts trust anger
08 Jun 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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