Plymouth University, UK, hopes their small-scale trial will reveal the environmental impacts of dredging. The Falmouth Harbour Commission, which applied for permission from the MMO for the trial, wants to commission dredging that will widen the channel of the harbour from 5 meters to 18 meters.
In favour of the dredging are local businesses and unions, who claim the dredging will help secure the port’s future, as it will ensure that larger vessels can access the channel. However, the organisation Natural England has raised concerns that dredging will affect the maerl (calcified seaweed) in the harbour area.
The maerl acts as a nursery for the local, commercial fish stocks. However, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners said the dredging would affect less than 2 percent of the maerl and one of the trial’s aims is to assess the maerl’s ability to survive dredging.
The trial was set to begin in August and would last six months, harbour managers have said.