The Dorset Wildlife Trust teamed up with Project Aware and introduced The Divers Shellfish Code in the summer of 2010 to help protect local Dorset ecosystems. It was felt that removal of too many, and of undersized animals could affect the structure of these marine ecosystems and this was putting the wildlife balance on the reefs at risk.
Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer said “We are worried about the sizes and numbers of shellfish, especially scallops and lobsters which are being taken. While taking a plateful for their dinner might not be a problem, collecting enough to fill their freezer is clearly not acceptable.”
Julie added: “Britain’s marine life is some of the most interesting and diverse in the world. Scuba divers are among the privileged who get the chance to see it first hand in all its glory, but there are a few individuals who risk spoiling it for everyone. Lobsters and scallops may be tasty, but they’re better seen alive on the seabed.”
It was recommended divers follow the shellfish code to help preserve the diverse Dorset marine life and support sustainablility.
Divers Shellfish Code:
- Limit your catch. Act responsibly by only taking enough for one meal, not enough to fill your freezer.
- Size does matter.
- Be aware of the legal minimum catch sizes and please only take animals well above the legal size limit.
- It is illegal to sell your catch unless you hold a commercial fishing licence.
- It is illegal to take lobsters carrying eggs or if they have a ‘V’ notch in their tail; it is sensible to leave all breeding animals alone.
- Larger individuals produce more offspring, so leave any really big shellfish that you see.
Project Aware’s Top Ten Tips to Protect the Ocean
- Be a Buoyancy Expert – Streamline your scuba gear and fine tune your skills.
- Be a Role Model – Set a good example when interacting with the marine environment.
- Take Only Photos – Leave Only Bubbles – Take nothing away but memories.
- Protect Underwater Life – Respect underwater marine life and follow local laws.
- Become a Debris Activist – Remove debris on dives and do beach clean ups.
- Make Responsible Seafood Choices – Choose to eat sustainable species.
- Take Action – Speak out for conservation. Share your message with the world.
- Be an Eco-tourist – Choose facilities dedicated to environmental business practices.
- Shrink Your Carbon Footprint – Seek ways to consume less fuel.
- Give Back – Donate of fundraise for ocean protection.
Source: Project Aware