Wild Justice supports a legal challenge on scallop dredging

Wild Justice is pleased to support, and share the word about, a campaign to stop the damaging practice of scallop dredging in Scotland.

Open Seas is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) taking legal action against this widespread form of fishing. The organisation believes the current licensing of scallop dredging is unlawful and has accused Scottish ministers of regulatory negligence.

The practice of scallop dredging is intensive and invasive. It involves ‘bottom trawling’ using heavy metal dredges to scrape and rake scallops from the seabed. The process is brutal and damaging, smashing up marine habitats and harming wildlife.

Why does Open Seas believe scallop dredging is unlawful?

The Marine Scotland Act requires Scottish Ministers to ensure that their decisions conform with the National Marine Plan. Within this plan, one policy requires the assurance that no use of the sea will have “significant impact on the national status of Priority Marine Features.” These marine features include marine habitats and species in Scotland.

Evidence gathered by Open Seas across multiple locations shows that scallop dredging has caused significant damage to marine habitats. Despite this evidence, the dredging continues to be licensed – which is why they’re requesting a Judicial Review.

Media coverage of this legal challenge: BBC (click here), STV (click here), The Herald (click here),

Wild Justice agrees with Open Seas and we have been happy to support their campaign. Ahead of their request for Judicial Review we contributed £10,000 towards their legal costs – a small proportion of the total costs, but one we hope makes a difference, and which Open Seas was able to use to encourage other donors to step up.

How can you help?

The hearing is to take place on May 22 – that’s on Monday. In the meantime, you can help by signing the ‘Our Seas’ coalition petition, which is asking for an inshore limit on scallop dredging and bottom-trawling.