January 14, 2009 Post subject: Diving in Lyme Bay
You may be aware that on the 11 July last year, the UK government closed sixty square miles of Lyme Bay to boats using scallop dredges and heavy demersal trawls in order to provide protection against damage to marine ecosystems incurred as a result of towed benthic gear. The area, however, remains open to sea anglers, scuba divers, fishers using pots and nets and other recreational users.
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), University of Plymouth and Marine Biological Association of the UK have since been awarded a contract by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to monitor, over the next three years, the economic, social and ecological impacts of the 60 square nautical mile closed area. PML will specifically assess the impact of the closure from economic and social perspectives. As part of our remit we will aim to interview all relevant stakeholders to build an accurate picture of the socio-economic implications of the closure to them.
We have therefore developed a questionnaire (available at http://web.pml.ac.uk/lymebay/ ) to collect views from divers. This questionnaire applies if you have dived at any location in Lyme Bay (including sites near Portland, Start Point, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Exmouth, Lyme Regis etc). We would appreciate it if you could fill in the online questionnaire so we can take your views into account. Alternatively if you would like to arrange a telephone interview please give me a call on the number listed below. If you are a dive business and I have already visited you I would be grateful if you could forward this e-mail onto members of a dive club or divers on your contact list.
University of Plymouth
Tel 00 44 (0) 1752 584732