The River Exe is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation, a National & Local Nature Reserve and a RAMSAR site! Needless to say, many needs have to be taken into consideration when fishing and farming shellfish in the same area.
Myles Blood Smyth of Exmouth Mussels has been strengthening links between our organisation and Natural England, the Exe Estuary Partnership and the Devon and Severn IFCA over the past few years. This effort to work in partnership with all who have an interest in the health of our river has resulted in commercial and environmental concerns being addressed in a spirit of co-operation, which has been working well for us all. Many people, when viewing our activities, feel concerned that their local environment is being damaged whereas the opposite is often true. This is a highly regulated activity in a very sensitive area and our activities are regularly thought through and discussed with the relevant authority.
A shellfish farm and a shellfish dispatch centre, such as the one we have at Exmouth Docks, is bound by operating procedures laid down by the Environmental Health Dept of the EDDC, CEFAS (The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and the Food Standards Agency. (FSA) The fishing activities are regulated by licensing from DEFRA and by the By-Laws in force on the River Exe which are enforced by Devon and Severn IFCA and the Marine Management Organisation. We are required to keep records of all shellfish caught, purified and dispatched and to help EDDC to maintain the classification of our shellfish beds through constant monitoring of water quality and shellfish samples.
In short, we operate responsibly and in accordance with all procedures laid down in law both on the river and on land.