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To ask the Scottish Government whether it has evidence suggesting that illegal dredging has taken place in the Firth of Lorne Special Area of Conservation and, if so, whether prosecutions for illegal dredging have taken place, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.


Answered by Richard Lochhead (11/02/2015):

It is inappropriate for Marine Scotland Compliance to comment on the evidence in any live case. However I can confirm that an investigation is currently on going and a case may be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. Until our investigations have concluded you will appreciate that nothing further can be said on the matter.

Marine Scotland Compliance investigates all suspected illegal activity at sea within its remit and, where sufficient evidence exists, reports the matter for consideration by the Procurator Fiscal or takes other action such as offering a fixed penalty. Since the establishment of the Firth of Lorne special area of conservation no cases have, to date, been reported by Marine Scotland Compliance to the Procurator Fiscal or fixed penalties offered in relation to that specific area.

The consultation on management measures for marine protected areas has recently closed and Marine Scotland intends to use the conclusions from the consultation to consider options which could help deliver improved deterrence and detection of illegal fishing, including illegal dredging.


Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 11/02/2015
 
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