Ban on scallop dredgers in loch
Scallop dredgers have been banned from a Highland loch after an endangered reef was damaged.
The Scottish Government has designated flame shell beds in Loch Carron, Wester Ross, as a Marine Protected Area.
An urgent Marine Conservation Order has been put in place banning mobile gear fisheries, such as dredgers, from the the area, initially for one year.
Following an investigation into claims the beds had been damaged by scallop dredging, an inquiry found the damage to the reef was consistent with this type of fishing which was legal there before the ban.
The investigation also found it is possible for the damaged beds to recover.
Flame shells, which are bivalve molluscs, build nests from shells, stones and other materials, and live completely hidden inside them on the seabed.