Scottish ministers have failed to make the case for controversial measures that would limit human activity in coastal areas, a fishing leader will say on Friday.

Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) will address the Scottish Skipper Expo in Aberdeen and is expected to take aim at the Scottish Government over highly protected marine areas (HPMAs).

A consultation on the proposals closed last week, but the fishing community, along with MSPs from within the SNP and opposition parties, have raised concerns about the impact on rural Scotland if human activity is strictly limited in at least 10% of the country’s waters – as has been proposed.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf says he won't impose HPMAs. So are they dead in water?

Speaking at the same conference, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon will describe the fishing industry as the “lifeblood of coastal Scotland”.

The Herald:

Ms Macdonald will say: “I’m sorry to say that our recent experience in engaging with the Government on HPMAs has been far from meaningful. We all need to work to protect nature and we all need to act to help tackle climate change. But this is not the way to do it.

“I absolutely know I am not alone in calling for the Government to stop and rethink these proposals, which are causing great concern and anxiety all around Scotland’s coast.

“Sadly, the Scottish Government’s approach to HPMAs is taking us backwards.

“Generated from a political agreement with the Scottish Greens, SFF firmly believes that the Government has failed to make its case for HPMAs, and strongly opposes the approach set out in the recent consultation.”

The chief executive is also expected to say that, along with HPMAs, proposals for “huge offshore windfarms” mean the industry “feels under threat like never before”.

But Ms Gougeon will seek to allay concerns about threats to the industry.

She will say: “There must always be space for fishing – the fishing industry must and will survive and thrive. I know that’s what you want, and it is firmly what the Scottish Government wants too.”

READ MORE: Raging former SNP minister rips up HPMA plan in Holyrood chamber

Ms Gougeon will seek to make the case for the proposals, saying: “Our knowledge about the impact of human activity on the seabed, the need to guard against biodiversity loss and mitigate against climate change, drives us to seek improvements.

“This means taking measures to improve our marine environment, but it also requires us to balance the sustainable use of marine resources.”