The success of Scotland’s seafood sector relies upon a reputation of high-quality, sustainable and traceable fish, and yet the Scottish Government is continuing to sit on its hands in the wake of repeated instances of illegal scallop dredging. We document a recent incident of suspicious fishing activity in the Sound of Mull, and explain how inaction by the Scottish Government is undermining the recovery of our marine environment – and why vessel tracking could help solve the problem.
In recent weeks, community organisations, fishermen and environmental groups have spoken with one voice to highlight the systemic failure by Marine Scotland to effectively manage Scotland’s inshore fisheries and protect and enforce fishing rules in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A series of incidents of both damaging and illegal scallop dredging prompted 42 organisations – including our own – to sign a joint letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for the Scottish Government to enforce fishing laws in MPAs and rethink the lack of management, which currently leaves 95% of Scotland’s inshore waters open to scallop dredging.
Our view is that without improved management, the productive potential of our seabed will continue to be eroded by poorly regulated dredging. This means coastal communities, businesses and our broader inshore fishing sector are being disadvantaged by a degraded marine environment. [Read more…]