The dredge fishery for scallops in the United Kingdom (UK): effects on marine ecosystems and proposals for future management

Leigh Michael Howarth, Bryce Donald Stewart

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The king scallop fishery is the fastest growing fishery in the UK and currently the second most valuable. The UK is also home to the largest queen scallop fishery out of all of Europe. However, concerns have been raised about the effects of this recent growth of UK scallop fisheries among scientists and conservation bodies, as well as amongst the public following recent media campaigns (e.g. Hugh’s Fish Fight). This is because the majority of scallop landings (95%) are made by vessels towing scallop dredges, a type of fishing gear known to cause substantial environmental impacts. In addition, several scallop stocks are showing signs of overexploitation and there is concern over future impacts of ocean warming and acidification. Although, there have been several recent improvements in the management of scallop fisheries in parts of the UK, information on many scallop stocks around the UK is still lacking. This report therefore proposes that better monitoring and stock assessments are needed for these scallop fisheries and stocks. With recent legislation soon to result in the development of a new network of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the UK, and improved management of fisheries in European Marine Sites, now is a crucial time to review the UK scallop dredge fishery and its impacts on the wider environment so that this new legislation can support a sustainable future for the UK scallop fishery. This report was therefore commissioned by the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust with the aim of collating existing knowledge on the management and environmental impacts of scallop fisheries around the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationYork
PublisherUniversity of York
Commissioning bodySustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Publication series

NameMarine Ecosystem Management Report
PublisherUniversity of York



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