There is a new proposed Special Area of Conservation (pSAC) for porpoise which includes the inner Hebrides and the Minches and runs all the way down to the Sound of Islay. If it does become a SAC it will be great news for this amazing little cetacean which we see most days on our boat trips. The area around the Corryvreckan has one of the highest population densities of porpoise in Europe and we welcome long overdue protection for them.
The use of tangle nets stoppedwithin the Firth of Lorn SAC in 2001 and scallop dredging was banned in 2006. A 2015 MSc project carried out on our sightings records found a 286% increase in porpoise density in the area over the past 10 years.
Fishery observers on 2 boats tangle netting for crawfish around Barra recorded 107 seals killed in just 2 months – more seals were killed than crawfish were caught. The pSAC would ensure that these static nets which also have a very high bycatch of cetaceans could never be used again here.
Currently there is a consultation on the pSAC. We would encourage everyone to respond welcoming the SAC proposal and stressing how important it is not to reduce the proposed area and also to include protection for Cuan Sound. The UK has 90% of European porpoise within its waters but currently only has one SAC designated for porpoise. Whereas there are 21 SACs to protect the other 10%. Here is the link to the consultation which ends on the 18th of May.