There are lots of controversies with the environment, the climate and our oceans. Man made devastation is growing and appears at times to be out of control.Sometimes, from a layman’s perspective, it would appear so simple to stop some of these problems with simple legislation. But, I guess there are unseen forces and powers that influence decision makers and law makers, to help maintain lifestyles and incomes that some at the top end of our society have become accustomed to.
Recently whilst working in Loch Fyne, a sea Loch on the west coast of Scotland, hand diving for Scallops and Sea Urchins, I was saddened and shocked by the affect of the scallop dredging that is seen so abundantly clear as I dived – even though its officially been banned since 2016.
I spoke to local scallop divers and I was assured that scallop, Langoustine and Prawn dredging were all banned in the Loch Fyne region and the area is protected by the Scottish Marine protection Areas. However, the bottom of the Loch here is barren and everything on it is broken and dead in the areas that I saw. Now I saw several small fishing style boats working the Loch whilst we were there, but I didn’t see any one dredging. I spoke to a local scallop diver, who lives in Strachur, along the southern bank of the Loch who wished to remain nameless who advised me that dredging does occasionally still take place, usually during the night and by smaller boats. They also advised that the reason the dredgers get away with it is because no one polices it and the revenue from it benefits the local communities. However, the barrenness I witnessed is the longer lasting affect of years of dredging on the Lochs floor which will still take years to fully recover if at all.
In addition to this, there is currently a post going around the social media sites by a British Scallop Dredging company stating that is stating that Scallop Dredging is responsible. With all the issues with the oceans at the moment, anything that kills off loads of other species in the process of catching few cannot be deemed as responsible. By catch is unacceptable especially since it is killing marine life and not sustaining it for the future.
The Loch Fyne dive itself was nice, I started off in a forest of Kelp, which diminished and after coming out of the kelp onto the Loch bed I was met with a lovely Maerl bed which was host to much life. However, this appeared to be cut in two between the bed and the bare sand of the Loch further down. In its place was brokenness and decay. Very sad and unnecessary in my humble opinion. The effect is obvious and the recovery is not quick. The video is just one example of the difference between untouched and damaged. The depth was the same through out.
So where am I going with this post – the truth is I don’t know. However, we should be raising awareness of the damage we are doing to the oceans through this barbaric form of fishing, and also to help preserve our oceans and what lives within for our children and future generations. Let’s fight to preserve what’s left of our oceans and the marine life that lives within.