The go-ahead for Scotland's first community marine reserve marks the end of a long campaign by conservationists
Scotland's first no fishing zone has come into effect in Lamlash Bay, off the Isle of Arran.
The new community marine reserve in part of the bay was set-up in an attempt to strike a balance between fishing and marine conservation.
It is hoped the fishing ban will help protect local fish and shellfish populations and maerl seaweed beds.
It is anticipated that as a result, nearby scallop beds will become more productive, benefiting local fishermen.
The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast) was formed to improve protection of marine life around the islands.
Commercial fishermen in the area later also added their support.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead praised conservationists, fishermen, and other members of the local community for working together and finding "mutually beneficial ground".
"It demonstrates what can happen when people work together on common goals and we empower communities to find local solutions to local issues," he said.
"We will be watching the project closely, particularly as it is the first of its kind, to see what lessons can be learned for the future."
Coast chairman Howard Wood said the marine reserve marked a new beginning for the area.
"After many years we at last have our marine reserve," he said.
"We are now looking forward to the benefits it will bring and to working with a range of people over the months and years ahead."
Clyde Fishermen's Association chairman Kenneth McNab said the organisation was supportive of the efforts being made in Lamlash Bay.
"We believe that it is important to take responsibility for our seas and the resources they represent."
Proposals for the community marine reserve in Lamlash Bay were announced in January.