Bait dragging


Ragworms may be collected from very soft muddy sediment (usually unsuitable for digging) by dragging rakes behind a boat when the tide is in. Dyrynda (1995) has carried out a one-day study of bait dragging in Poole Harbour on the south coast, which appears to be the only UK location where this activity is undertaken. This may be due to the long high tide stands in the harbour, which make it possible for dragging to be undertaken for long periods. No more than 15 professional boats and about the same number of casual fishermen are involved, taking large numbers for the retail bait trade. The gear used is a large double-tined drag, with tines of about 0.3 to 0.4 m long, towed through the mud behind a boat in order to hook and drag out large worms. These worms, and some other large invertebrates, gather in a ball on the tines of the drag. The activity takes place on the lower shore and in the shallow sublittoral, both on accessible shores and on remote and isolated mudflats, leaving behind circular scars on the mudflats that may be visible from the air (Dyrynda 1995).

Impacts of bait dragging on fauna, habitat and other shore users

Opportunities for mitigating the impacts of bait dragging