Dredging is damaging the sea-bed, fishermen warned

Campaigners are warning that further destruction of the Island’s sea-bed will severely affect future fish stocks.

Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen's Association, has dismissed the claims
Don Thompson president of the Jersey Fishermen's Association

Conservationists and scallop divers say that dredging for the shellfish is destroying a coral-like species called sea maerl.

Kevin McIlwee, of Jersey Seasearch, warned that damage to the sea maerl could severely affect the replenishment of ocean stocks, as a handful of it can act as a nursery for up to 60 different species.

‘We realise full well that fishermen have to make a living, but the problem is that if you dredge in these shallow areas, you affect any future harvest you can take,’ Mr McIlwee said.

However, Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, has dismissed the claims as ‘scaremongering tactics’, adding that he and his colleagues had been working with the relevant departments on the problem for a long time.

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Comments for: "Dredging is damaging the sea-bed, fishermen warned"


Funny how the president of the association that represents fishermen "dismisses" these claims? Asking fishermen to manage fish stocks or the marine environment is like asking an alcoholic to mind the bar or a gambler to look after the till or a fox to protect the hen house. Fishermen have significant overheads to pay for and this is their only motivation when out working. Expecting them to agree with any form of conservation is ludicrous. They don't need to be consulted on what is right, they need to be instructed to do what is right and paid accordingly. If cheap fish ultimately means no fish then we all lose out.


Personally the green party need to look at there own practice!!

How can diving taking scallops with roe in be good for the stocks!! They only take the very large size, which live close to reefs where no dredges can get to them.

I suppose it is OK for the French boats and areas where they have towed for decades. To many people with a view even when they know nothing about the fishery.

With regard to JerseyPC comments!! Very short sighted if he thinks local fisherman don't give a monkeys about local stocks!! needs educating on regulations and efforts that increase stocks not deplete them!!

Enjoy all your imported fish folks.

Horace Morris

Of course dragging chains across the sea bed is extremely damaging - its like picking mushrooms with a JCB. I would suggest Mr. Thompson knows this but obviously he's not going to admit it. Anytime there is a report that commercial fishing practices are damaging fish stocks or the environment, the JEP go to him for a comment and every time he will say that that there's no problem or in this case its just 'scaremongering'. The depletion of fish stocks is happening world wide and Jersey is no exception. Unfortunately, there is no desire by our Fisheries Department, politicians, or indeed local fishermen to do anything to protect local stocks.