Opportunities for mitigation

There appear to be few means of mitigating the effect of this activity, which is not currently underway in the UK. It will be important to ensure that any future applications to undertake such operations are licensed appropriately and excluded from sensitive areas.

When a proposal was made in the 1980s to introduce bait dredging to inlets in south-east England, there was considerable concern over the potential impacts of this activity. The (indirect) regulating mechanism used in this case was the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA). Because the sediment would be raised above the surface of the sea before being re-deposited on the seabed, an appropriate fee was required before a FEPA dumping licence could be issued by MAFF. This made the proposed operation uneconomic. Alteration of the sieving technique used might make this means of control inappropriate.

Fishing operations do not require a FEPA license. Thus, a fishing vessel dredging for bivalves, but also taking bait worms as a utilised bycatch, would fall outside the scope of this form of control.

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