Fisheries vessel was carrying out research

The research vessel Alba na Mara which was spotted off the coast of Arran last week. Photograph: Sean Boyce,

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Arran sea watchers were quick to react when what appeared to be a large fishing vessel was spotted off the coast of Arran last weekend.

After hastily making enquiries the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) were able inform people that the 27 metre long blue and white ship called Alba na Mara was in fact a fisheries research vessel operated by Marine Scotland.

COAST posted on social media: ‘This vessel is not a commercial fishing vessel , it is the Alba Na Mara and is a Marine Scotland research vessel which is currently operating around Arran; including within the South Arran MPA and the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone.’

The ship, one of two research vessels working for Marine Scotland and which was launched in 2008, has a large crane on the deck along with winches giving it the appearance of a working fishing boat. It is however a technologically advanced research ship housing dry and wet laboratories and is capable of  carrying out fisheries research, single, twin  pelagic/demersal/trawling and scallop dredging, hydrographic sampling, surveying and video work.

The vessel accommodates eight crew and five scientists and operates throughout Scotland.