Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Calls for urgent protection of coastal waters

Fishing representatives, anglers and community groups have called on the Scottish Government to take urgent measures to protect coastal waters.

The bodies came together to write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Gillian Martin, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, following a meeting in Oban about illegal dredging.

They want to see urgent reform of the management of the country’s inshore fisheries, due to damage to the seabed caused by decades of fishing.

>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter

The government is also being urged to give serious consideration to re-establishing a three mile limit on bottom-towed fishing methods.

In the letter to Ms Sturgeon, signed by 42 organisations, lead signatory Alasdair Firth, chairman of Community Association of Lochs and Sounds, writes: “In recent years, in recognition of their ecological importance, 20% of Scottish coastal waters have been designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

An image of the sea bed in Oban which alleges to show signs of illegal dredging.

“But for the species and habitats impacted by dredging, this is protection on paper only, with less than five per cent of the seabed in Scotland’s inshore waters actually protected from destructive scallop dredging and four per cent protected from bottom-trawling.

“Even these small areas of protection are being flouted. Within the last two months, scallop dredgers have illegally ploughed up areas of seabed at Gairloch and in the Firth of Lorn protected areas, destroying critically important habitats which were showing remarkable signs of recovery.”

Nick Underdown of Open Seas environmental charity said: “The removal of the Three Mile Limit in 1984 was a concession to deregulation and a disaster for our inshore fisheries.

“Dredging and trawling in our sensitive coastal seas has led to the systematic degradation of the seabed and key fish stocks, such as west coast cod, which in turn has suppressed the potential of our rural economy in these areas.

“If Ministers are serious about protecting our seas and genuinely sustainable seafood, they need to take meaningful action, urgently. The Scottish Government is presiding over a fishing regime which protects less than five per cent of our coastal waters from scallop dredging, the most damaging fishing method in Europe. It’s time Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet showed some real leadership.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in