The danger that a string of lobster pots face from the powerful and frequently imprecise nature of scallop dredging is significant, indeed, the loss of expensive pots as a result of careless dredging can destroy the livelihood of a lobster fisherman. The likelihood of accidents increase as dredging comes closer to land particularly when scallop dredging is speculative and away from recognised scallop beds. I understand that the Cardigan Bay Fisherman Association and the Welsh Federation of Fisheries Associations has expressed similar concerns about the vulnerability of lobster strings. Entangling with a string of lobster pots will cost the lobster fisherman in excess on £2000 (£45 per pot and anything from 45-60 pots per string) and can easily cause significant financial loss. It is precisely as a means of preventing such damage that clearer identification of scallop boats is required.
Currently there is no requirement for scallop dredgers to carry the Automatic Identification System (AIS) or a similar satellite tracking device, which would make their position and activity visible to onshore positions. The NWNWSFC should require scallop dredgers to install identification equipment as a tool for Sea Fisheries Officers and Coastguards to monitor dredgers fishing outside designated areas and/or in danger of damaging lobster pots. Currently lobster fishermen have no legal protection when their pots are damaged short of the indirect effects of conservation legislation protecting scallop beds. The Isle of Man Government has introduced for the 2008-2009 season a requirement for satellite tracking devices to be installed on scallop fishing boats operating within its own 3 mile limit.
Only vessels under 50 ft (15.24m) registered length are allowed to fish within 3 miles of the Isle of Man and require a permit to do so. You will be automatically issued with a 3 mile permit if your vessel is less than 50 ft. Under existing conservation measures ALL vessels fishing for scallops or queenies inside the 3 mile limit are required to have an operational satellite tracking device on board. In addition all vessels fishing for scallops or queenies inside the three mile limit are required to complete and return a detailed scientific logbook as supplied by the Department.