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Progress made on measures to regulate scallop dredging
This follows the Minister’s statement of 8th October statement in which she announced that the scallop dredging closed season would continue until the 28 February 2010. The extended closure has been implemented to protect the fishery in the short term pending new measures being introduced to manage scallop dredging.
The proposed measures should allow for a new Scallop Order to come into force from 1st March 2010.
The decision to tighten regulations follows a dramatic 15 fold increase in scallop dredging within Cardigan Bay over recent years. As a result the Minister launched a ten week consultation in July which sought stakeholder views on amending and supplementing the existing management measures. The formal consultation closed on the 25th September 2009.
Speaking about the work to implement the new regulations, the Minister said:
“Due to legal requirements under the EU Technical Standards Directive, we are obliged to allow the Commission three to four months to consider our proposed measures and then provide us with the clearance to implement them.
“The purpose of the new technical Order will be to manage the scallop fishery in Wales in such a way as to secure the long term sustainability of the fishery as part of a healthy marine ecosystem. It includes measures such as prohibiting scallop fishing within 1 nm of the Welsh coastline, limiting dredge numbers, restricting vessel power throughout Wales, introducing further gear restrictions and from 2011 reducing the length of the season by one month.
“The new regulation will also include further geographic locations where the fishery will not be permitted to take place for the protection of important marine species and habitats. Survey work is due to commence shortly to identify those vulnerable habitats which should not be subject to dredging and less vulnerable habitats where scallop dredging is acceptable”.
Through these measures the Minister is seeking to achieve a viable and sustainable scallop fishery in Wales which recognises and reflects the necessary level of environmental protection.