Plans to dredge the entrance of Falmouth harbour to attract larger cruise liners to the town have suffered a setback amid environmental fears.
The Government’s Marine Management Organisation said dredging could harm maerl beds which act as a nursery for commercial fish stocks.
Maerl is a hard, red algae which only exists in a handful of areas around the coast and can take thousands of years to form.
Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) and A&P Falmouth, who are behind the scheme to dredge the harbour, insist this is not the end of their ambitions, and further work will be put into the application.
FHC chairman David Ellis said: “The social and economic benefits of the scheme are massive not only to Falmouth but to the whole of Cornwall. Newquay Airport is the gateway to air traffic coming into the county and boosting the economy and Falmouth will be the maritime gateway. As well as larger cruise ships visiting Cornwall, Falmouth would benefit from the significant future development of the offshore renewable energy sector.
“This scheme is not dead in the water – far from it.”