Scallop dredging ban wanted by East Yorkshire fishermen

Scallops Scallops are raked from the seabed by large metal dredges

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A group of fishermen are seeking a meeting with the government to try to get scallop dredging banned off the East Yorkshire coast.

They claim scallop boats operating off Holderness have caused £100,000 worth of damage to their fishing gear in recent weeks.

Scallop fishing uses large metal dredges which rake the seabed to lift the shellfish.

The industry's association said it investigated incidents of gear damage.

Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Coast Fishing Industry Group which represents local fishermen, said: "The activities of scallop dredging are very damaging to the seabed and the local fishery is dependent on crabs and lobsters, which are associated with particular kinds of seabed habitat.

'Very seriously'

"And that's very sensitive. That environment is vital to the local fishing industry and any damage to it is of enormous concern."

Mr Cohen said that boats were coming to the area from Scotland and the Isle of Man.

He said he hoped to have talks about a ban with the fisheries minister Richard Benyon in the near future.

Scallop fishing is subject to a number of regulations. No dredging is allowed closer than three nautical miles to the shore.

In East Yorkshire, the North East Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority has introduced an emergency by-law which extends the ban on scallop dredging to within six miles of land.

The industry's trade body, the Scallop Association, said in a statement on its website: "We take instances of gear conflict very seriously and a gear conflict committee has recently been established to investigate any incident reported to the Association."

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