Trawlers should be banned from fishing within three miles of Scotland in order to boost fish stocks, say campaigners.
The Our Seas coalition, which includes angling bodies, ecotourism firms, scallop divers, coastal communities and salmon conservation boards want to reinstate a law which existed between 1889 and 1984 to “secure a future” for “fisheries, the people and wildlife that depend on them.”
The move to protect some 18,000km (11,185 miles) of mainland and island coastline and 13,790 sq km of sea is also backed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).
Alistair Sinclair, of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, told the Guardian: “We need to look forward and think of the generations coming after us. We have to secure a future for the young folk and families in rural communities along our coastline.”
Open Seas, a conservation charity say that scallop dredgers use heavy toothed machinery, that can penetrate up to 10cm into the seabed and leave the sea floor scarred for up to a decade.
Any change in the law would have an impact on boats that trawl for langoustine or dredge for scallops near to shore, but campaigners have said that ultimately, it will lead to more employment opportunities and an increase in fish stocks..