The wrong activity, in the wrong place, can cause serious damage to the health of our seas. In Loch Carron, we saw this starkly when the world’s largest flame shell reef was damaged by a scallop dredger. (If you’re not familiar with what happened in Loch Carron, we suggest you read this before continuing here).
The Scottish Government set up a “National Marine Plan” in 2015 to manage these impacts and guide the way the sea is used by industries. Unfortunately, the events in Loch Carron made clear that Ministers are failing to comply with it, specifically by failing to ensure that use of the marine environment does not impact on the national status of “Priority Marine Features”.
As a result, the Government are now undertaking a “review” to understand what impacts of bottom-towed fishing are taking place and to assess the cost of meeting their own legal requirements… It looks like this is going to result in very little actual action and so we’re calling for a more effective and evidence-based approach to protect our underwater heritage, the future of our fisheries and the health of our seas – read on to find out more.
A brief history
Scotland’s seas are a central part of our culture. Since the first people arrived to settle here after the last ice age, our seas have provided the foundations of society – literally so in some places; archaeologists have found homes made from oyster shell middens, and more recently towns such as Plockton were planned and built to harvest fish. The habitats carpeting the seabed, are the foundation of our seas. They give life to our fish, they filter our water, they store carbon and underpin the functioning of the interconnected web of life in the sea. Unfortunately they are in a historically bad condition. [Read more…]