GREENPEACE activists have boarded a Dutch-owned supertrawler in Scottish waters in a fishing protest.

The North Sea action took place north-east of Aberdeen.

Greenpeace claims the Helen Mary vessel was fishing in the protected Central Fladen waters.

Activists from its Esperanza vessel boarded the 117 metre-long boat and hung a banner reading: "Ban supertrawlers now."

They placed fishing deterrents in the supertrawler's nets before the Germany-registered Helen Mary left the area.

The huge vessel is equipped to process its catch onboard.

In 2019, the same vessel was detained at sea by Marine Scotland on suspected fishery offences. This investigation is understood to be ongoing.

Now it's emerged it has been detained at sea amidst an investigation for suspected fishery offences.

The ship was engaged by the fishery protection vessel Jura to the west of Shetland.

The Scottish Government said: "We can confirm Marine Scotland is escorting a vessel into Lerwick for suspected fishery offences.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further as an investigation is ongoing."

Supertrawlers are high intensity fishing vessels, capable of catching hundreds of tonnes of fish each day using nets up to a mile long.

Greenpeace say the intensity with which they fish negatively impacts the entire marine ecosystem.

Legal protections in the Central Fladen Marine Protected Area extend to the seabed but there is no long-term condition monitoring in place, Greenpeace states.

Chris Thorne, a Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner on board Esperanza, said: "Supertrawlers have no place in our protected areas.

"What use is a protected area, when the highest intensity industrial fishing vessels are allowed to operate inside it?

"Regardless of whether a protected area protects the seabed, or marine life like porpoises which are directly threatened by supertrawlers, the operations of a supertrawler in a supposedly protected area make a mockery of the word protected."