Dive collection of marine seafood is a low impact method that has a minimum impact on seabed habitats. Diving itself can be dangerous however, depths that can be worked are limited to 30- 40m due to human physiology and practicality. Diver collection of shellfish on a commercial basis is controlled by strict governmental legislation from the Health and Safety Executive. If you are purchasing diver-collected seafood you should always check that suppliers meet these guidelines for their own safety. Although this is a low impact method of capture there is a danger of certain dive sites becoming over exploited. Divers most often collect high value seafood such as scallops, razor clams, lobsters and crawfish.
In the case of scallop diving the areas fished are often those are areas which are not utilised by scallop dredgers because they are close to shore or close to rocky reefs. These areas therefore act as useful brood stock reserves, so the danger is that diver collection in these areas may impact stocks in the longer-term.
There is particular concern that diver collection of crawfish (spiny lobster) can be particularly efficient way of targetting this slow moving species. There is evidence that diver collection in the 1960's 70's and 80's was a major contributor to the collapse in crawfish
stocks in Uk waters.