Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “There needs to be a joined-up approach taken to protect the horse mussel beds. Strangford Lough is an area of massive environmental significance and all that can be done must be done to protect wildlife and the marine ecology in the area. Protecting this area is not only important from and environmental perspective but also from a tourism standpoint because Strangford Lough is a very popular tourism attraction.
“The relevant government departments need to deal with this matter effectively to ensure the EU does not impose a fine over this. Any fine could be a serious drain on the block grant and would place even more pressure on our already tight public finances.
“There needs to be a coherent work between government departments and groups to ensure protection of this species.”