Coastwatchers please look out for and report to us and the SFPA local office any inshore scallop dredging in and around Natura 2000 sites.
The ideal report includes time, place, boat name/number, if you saw the boat landing scallops where that was.
Why? Because dredging scallops in our inshore most sensitive Natura 2000 sites has a high chance of doing seafloor and nature damage which is avoidable. In other countries and even in one Irish site scallops are dived for.
Why urgent now? Because the scallop price is high so there is an incentive to harvest even for small stocks.
Note: 10 m length and less boats out dredging are likely to be deemed legal under our present national law – see Blacksod case. That is if otherwise licensed from the boat seaworthiness point of view even if in a protected site and simply coming in without appropriate assessment . They do however need to hand in scallop samples and have them analysed and pass toxin tests by Marine Inst so authorities do know where prospecting is going on from the sample locations and we are following that line up.
Update on Blacksod Bay: On May 21st we were told by the Dept of the Marine that there was a voluntary temporary cessation of scallop fishing in Blacksod Bay SAC – which we reported on our website.
But reliable local sources confirmed to us that 2 boats were in fact out dredging in the bay the following day May 22nd which ironically was World Biodiversity Day. Since then we have no further reports of fishing but also it is locally believed that the scallop stocks are now so low that its not worth going after.