SCALLOP DREDGING IN SALCOMBE ESTUARY
Scallop dredging in Salcombe Estuary to be monitored by patrols. Enforcement Officers from Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (D&S IFCA) have recently conducted patrols in the Salcombe Estuary monitoring small-scale scallop dredging.
The main aim of the patrol was to ensure compliance with the D&S IFCA Mobile Fishing Permit Byelaw.
Salcombe is an estuary where controlled and regulated small scale scallop dredging, by commercial fishing vessels, is permitted for 3 months over the winter.
The areas where this activity can take place is relatively small and avoids areas of the estuary where there is seagrass.
The permit conditions for scallop dredging within Salcombe are flexible and can be changed when there is evidence to suggest why there should be a change.
The conditions include that the vessel must not exceed seven meters in overall length, the maximum dredge width shall be one metre, the maximum number of dredges to be used at any one time shall be two, dredges shall be hauled by hand only and this activity shall only take place between 09.00 hours and 16.00 hours on weekdays and not during public holidays.
Dredging in the Salcombe Estuary is permitted between the 15th December and 15th March each year.
Scallop dredging uses steel dredges with a bar fitted at the front with a set of spring loaded, teeth, pointing downward, behind which a mat of steel rings, known as a sword, is fitted.
A bag is formed by lacing a heavy net cover to the frame sides and after end of the mat. Groups of dredges are attached to a hollow steel tow bar, which is connected to the main towing warp by a series of chain bridles. Larger boats usually tow two bars, one on each quarter. Dredging equipment is often rigged in a very similar way to beam trawls.
Scallops, found in sand and light gravel, are raked out by the teeth and then swept into the bag.