Petition launched to protect Scotland’s seabeds

A PETITION has been launched, seeking to protect the seabeds off the country’s coast from industrial-scale dredging for shellfish.

A coalition of more than 100 organisations is urging people to join the campaign, which is concerned about the damage being caused by dredging and ‘bottom trawling’.

It refers to a decision taken in 1984 to remove protection of seabeds, extending to three miles off the coast.

The coalition – calling itself ‘Our Seas’ – is calling for (1) the return of a modern seaward limit on bottom-towed fishing, “via a just transition”; (2) effective vessel tracking systems for all boats; and (3) preferential allocation of fishing opportunities to vessels with low-environmental impact, “bringing increased sustainable economic value and employment to communities”.

Says Our Seas, here: “In short, the ecosystems in our coastal waters are in bad shape. Globally, seabird populations fell by 70 per cent between 1950 and 2010, our coastal seagrass meadows have been reduced by 90 per cent, native oyster reefs, which once covered vast areas of our seabed are now completely extinct around Scotland, white fish and herring stocks have crashed to commercial extinction. There are a huge range of pressures on our seas – climate change, pollution, overfishing – but one of the fundamental problems is chronic and persistent damage to the seabed.”

The petition can be found, here.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland