Seabed Reform

Dredged seabed illegal scallop dredging
Dredged seabed © Howard Wood/COAST

CCN members care deeply about the seas which surround them and are coming together to speak out on shared issues of concern, such as illegal scallop dredging within our marine protected areas (MPAs).

The Scottish Government designated a suite of MPAs in 2014, however it is becoming increasingly clear that the effectiveness of management measures, in terms of their extent and enforcement, should be urgently reviewed. With reports of illegal incursions into MPAs, there is currently a critical need to ensure our MPAs and our inshore waters are being adequately managed, for the benefit of all.

Many CCN members are concerned about the high impact and ongoing use of bottom-towed mobile fishing gear within fragile inshore areas. There is clear evidence of damage to nationally important biodiversity features, like the impacts of dredging within Loch Carron, Gairloch and the Firth of Lorn.

CCN members within the Seabed Reform group are calling for the Precautionary Principle to be applied and for a more careful approach to protecting Scotland’s precious inshore zone to be taken.

To achieve this goal, members of the Seabed Reform group have joined the #OurSeas coalition in order to campaign for a reform of the management of Scotland’s seabed. The coalition consists of over 80 organisations united in support of urgent measures to recover the health of Scotland’s seas. Sign and share the petition calling for a modern coastal limit.


In November 2020, the Scottish Government published their ‘Monitoring the Socio-economic Impacts of Marine Protected Areas’ 2019 report. Whilst frustrating that we aren’t yet fully realising (and documenting) the vast array of socio-economic benefits which could be derived from our MPAs in Scotland, one encouraging conclusion drawn from the report is the influence that active coastal community groups within movements like CCN have clearly had.

“As well as wider economic impacts, the MPAs were thought to have wider social impacts. At the centre of many of these social impacts were a number of very active community groups. These groups organised a large array of activities and events with the aim of raising awareness and educating the public about marine conservation and promoting the rich diversity of their local inshore waters.” (page 75)