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New Hope Of Better Protection For Dorset's Seabeds

Seagrass meadow

8:16am 29th October 2013

Proposals to stop damaging fishing techniques have been welcomed by Dorset's Wildlife Trust.

A Conservation Authority is calling for a ban on trawls and dredges being used over high risk seabed's with sensitive habitats.

If the byelaw is successful, 25% high value areas, including Studland and Chesil will be protected.

Emma Rance, Marine Conservation officer from DWT said, "This proposal represents a great step forward in conservation.  Some rocky reef habitats that support the slow growing pink sea fan and various coral species are irreversibly damaged when dredged or trawled.  This byelaw will prevent any further damage and in doing so, maintain the health, productivity and economic value of the marine environment for future generations."

There are over 40 different commercial species caught in Dorset using a variety of fishing methods, many of which are low impact such as rod and line, pots, traps and gill nets.   A small number of fishers operate in the county using trawls and dredges which are unselective and have the potential to cause considerable damage to the habitats this byelaw seeks to protect.

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