Scotland is to audit the country's marine life after The Scotsman launched a campaign to 'Save Our Seas'.
A report from government agencies to feed into a new marine bill has been commissioned by Scottish Executive environment secretary Richard Lochhead.
The audit will focus on the health and environmental aspects of the sea, he added, but may contain details of its economic value to Scotland.
The fishing industry has backed the move with caution. "It's a surprise, but we welcome it," said Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF. "No new science can come of it, but it may pull together existing work."