New maps of Devon seabed helps shellfish fishermen

PUBLISHED: 16:01 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 09 April 2010

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1 - Shellfish farmers will be able to manage fishing grounds more efficiently with information collected from the first seabed mapping trial in Devon.

SHELLFISH farmers will be able to manage fishing grounds more efficiently with information collected from the first seabed mapping trial in Devon.

Seafish, a Government agency supporting the seafood industry, has been trialling its 'Basic Seabed Habitat Mapping' system on Devon's Salcombe Estuary, mapping sensitive seagrass beds adjacent to the traditional fishing grounds used by East Devon fishermen.

Basic information on the type and location of the habitat and the location of important species is being collected, with a photographic or video record and a sketch map of the site and is available to all fishermen.

Mark Gray, Environmental Assessment Officer at Seafish, said: "This is only the start, the seabed mapping guidance is part of a toolkit we are developing to help industry reduce the environmental impact of fishing and show that fishing can be compatible with marine nature conservation interests."

A lack of high quality seabed habitat information has always constrained capture fisheries and shellfish farmers but with the information supplied by Seafish they can help reduce the environmental impact of fishing, as well as comply with marine nature conservation legislation.

The information collected will be used in mapping habitats and the agency will be rolling out more trials along the Devon coast line in the future.


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