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Lamlash Bay to be Scotland's first marine conservation area

A popular beauty spot was yesterday revealed as Scotland�s first community marine conservation area.

A popular beauty spot was yesterday revealed as Scotland's first community marine conservation area.

Part of Lamlash Bay on the Isle of Arran will become a marine reserve and fishing will be prohibited to help protect the area's sealife.

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It is the first time that statutory protection has been given to a marine area as a result of proposals being developed at a grassroots level.

It follows a long campaign by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast), which represents 1600 islanders who wanted fishing banned to regenerate the seabed.

They petitioned Holyrood, pointing to examples elsewhere the size of fish and lobsters increased by one-third and became twice as abundant after the imposition of a fishing ban.

A compromise has been struck by the Lamlash Bay Working Group which embraced the fishing industry and nature conservationists.

Part of the bay will become a marine reserve where fishing activity will be prohibited while the remainder will be a fisheries management area.

Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary, said: "This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when we all work together.

"The proposals have been community driven and that has been key to their success. The proposals strike a balance between fishing and marine conservation."

Howard Wood, chairman of Coast, said the island community was delighted and was looking forward to working with the fishing community of the Clyde to address the regeneration of the marine environment.

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