Luce Bay SAC Meeting

saltireThere will be a drop-in event at Stranraer Library on Thursday 27th November from 3pm to 9pm to allow interested parties to share their views on the possible management approaches for Luce Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

A  SAC contains habitats, animals or plants of European importance; Luce Bay and Sands were designated as an SAC in 2005.

Scottish Natural Heritage has conducted a series of sea bed studies in Luce Bay and in line with the European Habitats Directive; there will be restrictions on destructive activities to protect the sensitive areas in Luce Bay Special Areas of Conservation.

Why it is a special place?

Luce Bay and Sands SAC is important because of its dune, seashore and seabed habitats and the species which depend on these places. The marine part of the SAC is an intricate mosaic of mud and sandy sediments with sandbanks, reefs and boulders supporting a wide variety of plants and animals.

The three options that are on the table for consultation are as follows.

OPTION 1

  • Banned all year round: Demersal Trawling, Mechanical Dredging (boat and tractor operated), Suction Dredging, Hydraulic Dredging. This includes scallop dredging.

OPTION 2

  • Banned all year round: Demersal Trawling, Mechanical Dredging (tractor operated), Suction Dredging, Hydraulic Dredging
  • Scallop dredging would be permitted only in a predefined area in the middle of the bay by vessels less than 100 GRT in January, February, November and December.

OPTION 3

  • This option is similar to option 2 but the size of the pre-defined area may change as the scallopers have asked for additional grounds close to East Tarbert and a limit to licenses my apply.

SSACN believes that option 1 would be the most effective at achieving the goals of maintaining the important habitats and are concerned that parts of these habitats could be included in the pre-defined area which allows dredging, however, with suitable control measures in place we could support Option 2.

Luce Bay was shown in a government economic study to be the most popular destination in Scotland for sea anglers; an activity which puts millions of pounds into the local economy every year and it is essential that any measures are sufficient to ensure the viability of the habitats and for many slow growing fish associated with them, such as demersal skates and rays.

It is important that your voice is heard, no matter which options you prefer and we encourage you to attend on Thursday.

Category: Scottish Government News

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