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New scallop regulations unsafe for divers

21 July 2004

New scallop regulations unsafe for divers

Regulations which force divers to spend more time on the bottom, measuring each scallop, will result in deaths, Stephanie Railey, of the Outdoor Recreation Party, said today.

"The new regulations are an ass," Ms Railey said, less than a week into the new scallop season. Divers handpicking scallops from the sea floor are put in real danger and risk penalty. This method of collection has the least impact on the scallop habitat. Legally, scallops and other shellfish must be measured and sorted at the first opportunity.

For divers, that is at the point of harvest, while the diver is still underwater. For those dredging, it is immediately when the dredge comes on board the boat. When divers surface they must again measure and count their catch immediately to ensure they comply with the rules relating to daily take entitlements and minimum size restrictions.

"The regulations need to be overhauled and rewritten sensibly," she said.

"The Government is more concerned with revenue collection, than commonsense legislation and this is just another ploy to shut the non-commercial fishing person out of their traditional and customary food source."


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