New Byelaw In Scilly Will Limit Dredging

Dredging for scallops within six miles of the islands is likely to be banned.

At last Thursday’s Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority meeting, members agreed that an existing regulation restricting the practice to vessels with four dredgers and within four nautical miles of Scilly should be replaced with a ban on all boats over 10 tonnes gross or 11m length.

The new rule would extend 2 miles further.

They hope that the proposed byelaw will prevent further damage to the seabed caused by commercial fishing. That threatens the habitat of other shellfish including crawfish, lobsters and crabs.

Natural England has previously warned that illegal dredging was continuing around the islands, as enforcement has been difficult.

But the IFCA now has its own dedicated patrol RIB, the Matt Lethbridge.

Adverts asking for feedback on the proposal will be placed in the regional press at the cost of approximately £2,000.

Respondents will have 28 days to offer their views.

When the byelaw that is to replaced was agreed by the Secretary of State in 2002, it was challenged in the High Court. That appeal was overturned.

It is hoped that the new restriction will come into effect next year.