Scallop dredging could be banned

scallops2Scallop dredging has become a major issue in some areas and it is being suggested that it could be banned in large areas around the UK coastline.

According to Charles Clover, founder of Fish2Fork, scallop dredgers and trawlers could be forced out of more than 200 protected marine sites in UK waters as a result of a new interpretation of EU law on habitats and species.

A letter from a senior official at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) apparently explains that the government is to bring commercial fishing in European marine protected areas (MPAs) in line with other activities, such as wind farms, by saying that where a fishing activity is proposed in a MPA and is considered significant by the authorities it will now have to undergo an “appropriate assessment” to ensure that it is not harmful to the features of the site.

Though this would appear to be a significant change it is only formalising the fact that the governments should have already been doing this in areas of Special Scientific Interest (SSIs) and which they have consistently failed to do. The wording also allows tremendous scope for governments to continue to avoid taking action with the weasel wording of “is considered significant by the authorities “ and “undergo an appropriate assessment”. The assessments wind farms are currently subject to highlight just how ineffective that could be.

The new ruling has been made for MPAs in England, but it is understood that it will apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and to fishermen from other countries, such as Belgium and France, fishing in MPAs in UK waters.

Category: EU Government News

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