New calls to ban scallop dredging off Yorks coast –

New calls to ban scallop dredging off Yorks coast Published:  01 May, 2012

A NEW call has gone out to ban scallop dredging in the North Sea off the Yorkshire coast.

Local shell fishermen have asked for a meeting with the government to try to get a ban on scallop dredging which they say is costing them tens of thousands of pounds in damage to their own fishing equipment.

They blame larger vessels from Scotland and the Isle of Man for the damage. The latter area is interesting because not that long ago scallop fishermen from the Isle of Man called for a similar ban around their own coastline.

Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Coast Fishing Industry Group which represents some of the Yorkshire Coast fishermen, told the BBC: “The activities of scallop dredging are very damaging to the seabed and the local fishery is dependent on crabs and lobsters, which are associated with particular kinds of seabed habitat. And that’s very sensitive. That environment is vital to the local fishing industry and any damage to it is of enormous concern.” Mr Cohen said he was hoping to meet the UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon over the issue.

In East Yorkshire, the North East Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority has introduced an emergency by-law which extends the ban on scallop dredging to within six miles of land. Several months ago a leading marine biologist, Professor Callum  Roberts of York University, called for an end to the dredging of scallops off the Yorkshire coast because he says it is causing environmental damage.

Professor  Roberts said only the scallops were left when everything else had been fished out. He now wants specific areas to be set aside for scallop breeding and fishing only. He called for the European Commission to formulate regulations on how the fishing industry should harvest scallops.