12 years ago the Fal and Helford River in Cornwall was designated an EU protected reserve or Special Area of Conservation (SAC). At this time a voluntary agreement amoung fishermen to aviod dredging for scallops was established. The agreement failed, and now the government is being accused of allowing the destuction of important biological features within the SAC. As a result proposals have been put forward to close the SAC and re-establish the area as an Experimental Marine Protected Area (MPA). This will mean a complete ban of beam trawing, trawling and scallop dredging from November 2008, however, fishing with a hook and line will still be permitted. The intention of this move is to better manage scallop stocks within the SAC and to investigate whether there may be benefits to scallop populations and fishing outside the SAC.
This a fantastic move forward for UK environmental policies, and will be interesting to see how this effects the biodiversity of the SAC and indeed marine resourses which depend on it. The area is well renound for its excellent diving, and mabye this move will put Falmouth on the world wide diving map, and hopefully provide the local economy the boost it needs.
Proposal for the Closure of Fal and Helford SAC to Scallop Dredging