Scallop fishing to restart in protected Cardigan Bay
Controversial plans to restart scallop fishing in a protected area have been approved.
Commercial scallop fishing ended at Ceredigion's Cardigan Bay five years ago when it became a special area of conservation.
Opponents claim scallop dredging is "a highly destructive fishing method".
But the Welsh government said a two-year study found limited fishing was possible in specific areas and would have no adverse impact on the area.
Under the new plans, a flexible permit scheme with new guidelines has been introduced to ensure the "careful management of the fishery" to "maximise the fishery and protect the site features at all times".
An advisory board of industry experts will advise on permit conditions and the scheme it will be reviewed annually.
Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: "Based on this and the fact no new evidence was produced to suggest this fishery would have an impact on the protected features within the bay, I have decided we should not stand in the way of economic activity.
"I want to reassure everyone this will be a carefully and proactively managed fishery, with the number of fishing boats being monitored.
"I am reassured the proposed new flexible approach is proportionate and will enable us to consider appropriate areas and management mechanisms for the future of this fishery."
Jim Evans, of the Welsh Fishermen's Association, said the decision was a "positive step towards the sustainable management of our fisheries in Wales".