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Community Marine Conservation Area

21/01/2008

Lamlash Bay on the Isle of Arran is set to become Scotland's first Community Marine Conservation Area.

This will be the first time statutory protection has been given to a marine area as a result of proposals being developed at grassroots level.

It follows work by the Lamlash Bay Working Group comprising representatives of the fishing industry and nature conservationists and chaired by an independent body, the Firth of Clyde Forum.

Under the new proposals:

  • part of the bay will become a marine reserve where fishing activity will be prohibited
  • the remainder will be a fisheries management area with a particular focus on scallops
  • students at the new Clauchhlands Outdoor Education Centre will be able to study and enjoy a protected marine environment on their doorstep

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead with others at Lamlash Bay, Arran

Rural Affairs and the Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead 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 conservation area proposals in Lamlash Bay have been supported by the Scottish Government and are the first of their kind in Scotland.

"The proposals strike a balance between fishing and marine conservation. We will see fisheries management in one part of the bay, the safeguarding of the natural marine environment in the other and a boost in tourism for the whole of Arran.

"They also provide an opportunity to showcase the area's marine environment and I have asked the organisations involved to consider innovative means of doing so. In particular, the possibility of underwater cameras will be pursued so that future visitors to the island and elsewhere will be able to enjoy the fantastic marine life which Lamlash Bay has to offer."

Howard Wood, Chairman of COAST ( Community of Arran Seabed Trust), said:

"The island community is delighted with the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary and is looking forward to continue to work with the fishing community of the Clyde in this exciting project to address the regeneration of the marine environment."

Kenneth MacNab, Chairman of the Clyde Fishermen's Association, said:

"The Association is pleased that, after a lengthy process, a satisfactory outcome has been reached in the Lamlash Bay process. We are ready to play out our role in the ongoing management of the Bay."

Isabel Glasgow, Chair of the Lamlash Bay Working Group, said:

"I am delighted that we have reached a very positive consensus on this emotive subject. The proposals demonstrate that groups with different agendas can work together to find common ground for the benefit of many.

"The hard work does not stop here and the Firth of Clyde Forum looks forward to ongoing participation in this landmark process."

The Community Marine Conservation Area will consist of a no take zone and a fisheries management zone.

Subject to a 12 week consultation and Parliamentary processes, the no take zone will be statutorily underpinned by an Order made under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

The fisheries management zone will focus primarily on scallops. On receipt of an application, and subject to consultation and the terms of The Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967, the fisheries management zone will be implemented by a Regulating Order, the grantee of which will be an organisation made up of COAST and the Clyde Fishermen's Association.