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Mussel Dredgers in Dublin Bay Leave Coastline 'Smelling Like Corpses'

31st October 2016
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At almost 50m long Emerald Gratia was the largest of four industrial mussel dredgers that worked the seabed of Dalkey Sound last week At almost 50m long Emerald Gratia was the largest of four industrial mussel dredgers that worked the seabed of Dalkey Sound last week Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#DredgingDalkey - Industrial mussel seed dredging will leave Ireland's coastal waters "full of jellyfish and little else", convervationists claim.

As the The Irish Independent writes, four industrial trawlers had worked in Dublin Bay over the three days beginning last Sunday (23 October). 

Afloat.ie adds the dredging activity was understood to be for mussel seed fishing by the four trawlers dragging cage nets across the seabed of Dalkey Sound. On the final day of dredging, Tuesday, the last vessels to operate, the near 50m long Emerald Gratia (photo above) and 40m Rona, departed for Lough Foyle. The pair arrived last Wednesday at Carrickarory Pier, south of Moville.

The Irish Independent also in its coverage wrote, the Government permits industrial dredging for young mussels but last Thursday the Supreme Court ruled that the contents of the seabed inside our six-mile territorial limit are State "assets" and should be protected.

Two of the trawlers operating in Dublin Bay last week are understood to have been collecting seed mussel for "finishing" grounds in Welsh waters. 

Two others, registered in the Republic, are believed to have been dredging for mussel farms on the west coast of Ireland.

The sea area being dredged, like much of the coastal area of Ireland, has seen major declines in many types of sea life, with anglers and small commercial fishing operations reporting falls in catches year after year. And this summer, as in other recent years, beaches and bathing places around Irish inshore waters have been closed due to swarms of stinging jellyfish.

The few people still earning a living from inshore fishing said that the dredging was causing huge and long-term damage to our fisheries. "The damage caused by the dredgers is absolutely enormous," said Dalkey lobster fisherwoman and boat-hire operator Dolores Smith

"There are stretches of seabed just over there that have been obliterated. The Dublin Bay prawn is extinct now. There are none in the bay any more. People may call prawns Dublin Bay but they're from somewhere else because there are none left here."

Ms Smith also said there was a foul smell around Dalkey Sound and the other dredged areas."It smelt like rotting corpses; it was horrible out there," she added.

She pointed out that Dalkey Sound is officially designated a "specially protected area", yet this has not prevented the trawling of the seabed.

For more including a response from The Irish Wildlife Trust, the newspaper reports here. 

Published in Fishing
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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