The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is concerned that scallop dredging may be allowed to continue across large swathes of seabed in a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) at Luce Bay, Dumfries and Galloway.
The Scottish Government is due to submit proposed fisheries management for Luce Bay and Sands SAC later this month, but there are concerns that a management compromise might leave fragile areas of the seabed at continued risk of damage by scallop dredging.
A seasonal ban from March to October has been in place for 13 years but scallop dredging continues to be allowed outside of these months. The SAC is supposed to protect the integrity of the site and there is concern that continued changes to the ecosystem over time, evidenced by declines across the whole southwest of Scotland in predatory fish, such as sharks and rays, could be linked to human activity. In the face of such uncertainty, the charity is concerned that unless all bottom-towed forms of fishing are limited, the health of precious seabed habitats and sea life could deteriorate.
Category: Other Organisations