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.

Investigation launched after suspected illegal dredging in protected marine area in Wester Ross

Ullapool and Loch Broom
Ullapool and Loch Broom

A probe has been launched by the fishery protection arm of the Scottish Government after an alleged case of illegal scallop dredging in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) near Loch Broom.

The alleged incident, raised last week, is currently being investigated by Marine Scotland after reports were received of the alleged breach inside the Wester Ross MPA.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman confirmed an investigation is under way and that any illegal activity is “completely unacceptable” and urged anybody with any information or evidence to assist with their inquiries.

In order to combat any illegal activity, marine protection vessels are regularly deployed into areas of protection to ensure compliance with regulations is being undertaken.

Vessels found to be in breach of regulations run the risk of being fined, however, campaigners against the illegal fishing in MPAs believe the fee should be enhanced.

A sum of £1.5 million has been set aside by the government branch to introduce new tracking and monitoring equipment over the next two years.

Nick Underdown of Open Seas, an organisation that formed three years ago in an effort to promote more sustainable fisheries in Scotland, believes more must be done to protect the reputation of Scotland’s valuable fishing industry, although stressed that instances of illegal dredging were “shockingly all too frequent”.

He added: “These are environmental and fisheries crimes that are hindering the long-term interests of Scotland’s rural economy.

“People expect Scottish seafood to be traceable and responsibly resourced, but the weak regulation of scallop dredging is damaging consumer trust and the environment at the same time.

“Vessel tracking alone will not solve this – the Scottish Government needs to allocate more resources to deter such illegality.”

He added: “This is about addressing the long term scandal of historically inept fisheries management that has degraded the very ecosystems that our fish stocks rely on.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in