Marine biologists are hoping to catch record breaking numbers of lobsters as they return to North Ayrshire.

Researchers have travelled to Arran, later than usual this year due to the coronavirus lockdown, to gather data from the the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone.

Dr Bryce Stewart comes to the island every summer to run the surveys.

He said: “I love coming up to Arran, it’s a beautiful place. I’ve got to know a lot of people here.

“The local community is very much in support of the conservation areas.”

Starting last week and through til the end of this month, the professor with help from local creel fisherman Ian Cusick, will be counting crustaceans across the NTZ.

After years of campaigning by Howard Wood and Don MacNeish, of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast), the NTZ has seen a transformation of the seabed.

Dr Stewart said: “It looked like a ploughed field back in 2006.

“Over the years there’s been a dramatic change.”

Working with local fisherman, who return anything they catch in the NTZ, the team have found three to four times more legal sized lobsters than outside the protected area.

Dr Stewart said: “They really enjoy it. For them to see how it could be is really interesting.

“Not only did we catch more, some of them are huge, and if you’re a fisherman that’s exciting to see.

“I love it, this is why I became a marine biologist. You never know what you’re going to see.”

Look out for The Promise (UL59) carrying out the surveys this month.