Fri 24 Aug, 2018

Dredging would destroy kelp beds which provide an important habitat for many species. John Finnie MSP

Ahead of a Marine Scotland consultation closing tomorrow, a Green MSP is outlining his opposition to a proposal to allow for the mechanical dredging of wild seaweed in the waters off Scotland’s west coast.

John Finnie, the Scottish Greens’ Highlands and Islands MSP, says kelp beds, which would be damaged by dredging, are home to many marine species and play a role in fighting climate change by protecting the shoreline from erosion.

Marine Biopolymers, based in Ayr, wants to dredge for wild seaweed off the west coast by using what they call Norwegian “harvesting vessels” that will then travel to a processing plant in Mallaig.

Highlighting the dangers of the proposals, and his support for the existing and sustainable harvesting methods, John Finnie MSP said:

“Dredging can be a highly destructive method of harvesting so Greens are totally opposed to any proposals for mechanical kelp dredging for kelp off the west coast of Scotland. Dredging would destroy kelp beds which provide an important habitat for many species, some of which are also harvested.

“Crucially, kelp reduces the energy from waves before they hit the shore, protecting the shoreline from erosion and this is important at a time when our focus must be on tackling climate change.

“The government has already committed itself to ‘develop a strategic approach on environmental policy to protect and enhance our environment’ and to ‘safeguard natural capital’. To allow for this type of mechanical dredging would be a betrayal of that promise.

“We remain fully supportive of existing, sustainable seaweed harvesting arrangements and welcome the important role it can play in our coastal communities.”

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