A wildlife rich reef damaged by scallop dredging was yesterday granted permanent protection from fishing.

Scottish Government ministers had issued a temporary order banning mobile fishing on Loch Carron on Scotland’s north-west coast after an incident in 2017.

Divers who visited the Wester Ross reef, which is a nursery ground for scallops, found the area had been “intensively” dredged.

The Marine Protected Area (MPA) for Loch Carron came into force yesterday, meaning fishermen operating trawlers or dredging boats will not be able to fish.

Katie Gillham, head of marine ecosystems at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “We’re delighted that the Loch Carron MPA is now designated on a permanent basis.

“Loch Carron is home to the world’s largest known flame shell bed – containing a quarter of a billion of the fiery orange shellfish – as well as spectacular living maerl beds.

Source: The Press and Journal