Dredging is damaging the sea-bed, fishermen warned

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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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