BBC ‘A fragile flame shell reef which was severely damaged by scallop dredging on Scotland’s north west coast has been granted permanent protection. Ministers had issued a temporary order banning mobile fishing on Loch Carron in Wester Ross after the 2017 incident.

Divers who visited the reef, which is a nursery ground for scallops, found the area had been “intensively” dredged.  But it now officially has Marine Protected Area (MPA) status which safeguards 23 sq km of the sea loch.

‘Unsung heroes’

Phil Taylor, head of policy at environmental group Open Seas, described the initial devastation as a “wake-up call”. He added: “These divers are unsung heroes – by showing the damage that is being done to our seabed, they have raised huge political and public awareness of the problem.

“However, Loch Carron is just one small area, and over the past few decades the same degradation has happened elsewhere in our seas.

“We urgently need to regenerate all of our coastal seas – safeguarding seabed habitats will deliver a sustainable long term future for our rural economy and communities.”

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