Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes
Scallop fishing in Wales is regulated through the Scallop Fishing (Wales) (No.2) Order 2010. The regulations prohibit scallop dredging in several clearly defined areas around the Welsh coast which have been identified as important to vulnerable marine species and habitats. Scallop fishing is prohibited between 1 May – 31 October each year in Welsh territorial waters.
In addition to the restrictions set out in the 2010 Order, Scallop fishing around Wales is also regulated by byelaws of the former Sea Fisheries Committees. Under those Byelaws, authorisations are required to fish for scallops within 6nm of the Welsh coastline. Following the abolition of the Welsh Sea Fisheries Committees in 2010, those authorisations are now issued by the Welsh Ministers.
The Welsh Ministers are under various obligations (originating from the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC)) in relation to the numerous European Marine Sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)) around the Welsh coast.
On the basis of all available and relevant information I have agreed that:
- the various restrictions set out in the Scallop Fishing (Wales) (No 2) Order 2010 are sufficient to ensure that the Welsh Scallop fishery is operated in a way which will avoid the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the Welsh European Marine Sites have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of the Habitats Directive (in compliance with the Welsh Ministers obligations under Article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive); and
- that the scalloping activities permitted by the issuing of authorisations under the relevant saved Byelaws of the former Sea Fisheries Committees will not have a significant effect on the Welsh European Marine Sites.
Therefore, in accordance with the Scallop Fishing (Wales) (No.2) Order 2010 and authorisations issued under the byelaws of the former Sea Fisheries Committees, fishing commenced on 1 November 2011 and will cease on 30 April 2012.
The scientific analysis considered in this matter will be published on the Welsh Government website shortly.