Scallops: Delicious, expensive, take ages to grow (5 years or more) and extremely vulnerable to scallop dredging.
Scallop dredging involves dragging about half a tonne of steel sledge over the sea bed, churning it all up and provoking the scallops to shoot off (see the video below) and get caught in the dredge. It catches lots of scallops and pretty much annihilates everything else.
Scallop dredging was banned in The Skomer Marine Reserve (now Special Area of Conservation) some 20 years ago. There is a fine of £5000 if you are caught poaching them. The population is still recovering. Numbers are still climbing after two decades of protection. The benefits of not being regularly blatted by scallop dredges are good for everything else too.
Many thanks to Andy Davies for the use of his video and to Your Not Percy for the scallopy music.
There is a move afoot to expand scallop dredging in the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation. This will not be good news for the scallops or anything else that gets in the way. Marine conservation is really simple: If you leave it alone it gets better.
I think if we are going to declare an area a Special Area of Conservation it would probably be better not to plough it to death with steel sledges. If you want to put your views to The Welsh Assembly Government, you have until February 16th 2016 and you can do so here:
Look out for the next blog coming soon….