Tuesday 2 February 2015 – North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NEIFCA) implemented an emergency fisheries byelaw regulation prohibiting scallop dredging for a sixth month period throughout its district.
Up until then, some 30 vessels were actively participating within the fishery with an equal number of applications and enquiries pending. Given the scale of this activity the authority considered the fishery to be at serious and immediate risk of over exploitation and the associated marine habitat to be at equal risk of damage and deterioration.
Lessons there for the Scottish Government when it comes to the Luce Bay SAC.
During the last three weeks there has been an unprecedented and unforeseen number of scallop dredgers turning up at Whitby and Scarborough to fish within the NEIFCA district. These two are examples:
They are Charity & Liberty and the Atlantis Belle which are both Dumfries registered vessels.
At present the authority has no means of controlling the numbers of vessels accessing the fishery.
In order to address the concerns effectively and efficiently, the authority endorsed the implementation of an emergency byelaw regulation prohibiting all scallop dredging within its district until 1 July 2015.
This temporary period of closure will enable the authority’s officers to improve the existing management associated with the fishery and ensure the long-term sustainability of the scallop fishery.