Monday 26 December 2011: Trawlers
We've had our own sort of white Christmas in West Wales: low cloud, mist and near continuous drizzle have blotted out the view over the past few days. There was a low tide today and when I walked down to the harbour to collect mussels in the rain, these two trawlers reminded me of the beautiful day last summer when my younger son's fisherman friend brought round a load of scallops that we cooked on the barbecue.
The scallop's pearly cushion of tender meat with the coral fringe of roe makes it a highly desirable luxury food and their popularity has created a profitable trade for fishermen in boats like this. Their heavy steel dredgers scour the seabed where the scallops lie and leave the habitat damaged and denuded of other life forms. They disturb marine mammals such as dolphins, porpoises and whales and they dislodge the lobster pots of inshore fisherman. Attempts have been made to restrict scalloping activity in Cardigan Bay where these trawlers probably operate but since there is no national policy they move around to available fishing grounds. Fishermen complain that catch limits make it impossible for them to earn a livelihood but in the long run the risk is there will be nothing left to catch. On the Scottish island of Arran, an initiative by local people has turned Lamlash Bay into a No Take Zone to preserve the marine ecosystem for the benefit of future generations. We should forgo the scallops and see the same thing happening here.