A fishing ban off the coast of a Scottish island has been labelled “an underwater triumph” amid controversial plans by the Scottish Government to protect marine life.

Fishermen have reacted angrily to proposals by SNP ministers to designate up to 10 per cent of waters as highly protected marine areas (HMPAs) in similar plans being rolled out by the UK Government in England.

Despite concerns raised by opposition MSPs about the initial proposals, the Scottish Greens have claimed that a no-take zone at Lamlash Bay in Arran shows that banning fishing from certain areas can help marine life recover.

The party’s coastal communities spokesperson, Ariane Burgess, saw the positive impact in fish stocks and nature replenishing during a visit to the site, where she hailed it as “an underwater triumph for locals and nature over adversity”.

Ms Burgess said: “It was a truly incredible experience to visit the Lamlash Bay no-take zone last week, to witness for myself the extraordinary success the community has had there.

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“What I saw was an underwater triumph, with clearer and healthier waters, a thriving ecosystem and the return of nature. It shows what’s possible in a short period of time and the positive impact that no-take zones can have on our communities.

“It’s not just in Arran, there are successful no-take zones in place all over the world. They are not about putting an end to fishing. Instead, they are about protecting a small number of specific areas to allow our fish stocks to recover.”

She added: “Fishing communities can and must be at the heart of decision making like they have been in Lamlash Bay. That is how we can ensure that we have a sustainable fishing sector for decades to come.

“I was delighted to make the trip because the future I want for our coastal communities is one with thriving harbours full of busy fishers and local businesses and an end to the long-term depopulation we have seen across far too much of our country.

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“Arran’s no-take zone at Lamlash Bay is an exemplary environmental showpiece of that in action, and a model that I’m sure others would want to embrace.”

The plans for HMPAs have been drawn up after the Bute House agreement between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens, mirroring similar plans being rolled out by the European Union and UK Government.