The first voluntary closure of a cod spawning ground in the North Sea has been announced.
Scotland's commitment towards protecting cod was praised
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said it provided "concrete evidence" of Scotland's commitment towards protecting cod stocks.
He revealed the closure during a statement to MSPs on the outcome of the December Fisheries Council.
Mr Lochhead said: "We are working closely with industry and fishermen and we greatly value their co-operation."
He explained: "I believe that a successful scheme in Scotland will lead to it being adopted more widely across Europe."
And Mr Lochhead went on: "Turning to the year ahead, it's clear that 2008 will be a year of many challenges. Tough decisions lie ahead of us.
"Scotland today stands at the forefront of a new era of sustainable fisheries. It's clear to me that Scotland punches above its weight. And it's clear that we should take pride in the leadership shown by the Scottish fleet.
"I firmly believe that the Scottish industry is sailing into calmer waters after too many years of pain and instability."