Dancing scallops have been caught on camera in Lyme Bay.

A video from the Lyme Bay RETURN project shows a group of queen scallops jumping off the sea bed and using their shells to shoot water jets allowing them to move.

The Lyme Bay RETURN project has been monitoring the bay’s reef to see if sealife and its habitats have benefited since a ban on bottom-tow fishing.

The footage of the scallops was shot using a video transect from the project.

Dr Emma Sheehan, a marine researcher who worked on the RETURN project, explained she has never seen so many queen scallops.

She said: “We have been seeing them fly like this since the area was protected from bottom toe fishing. I have never seen them in that density though, there were thousands.

“I think they moved like they did because they knew we were coming. It’s always quite amusing, I think people don’t realise that they can move.”

Dr Sheehan explained that she has seen an increase in the bay’s sealife following the ban.

She added: “It has been so rewarding because when we first started to monitor the bay it didn’t look very nice because it had been fished on for a long time. It takes a little time for a recovery to set in and now we are witnessing lots of crab and fish and all sorts of sea sponges.”

According to Dr Sheehan, king scallops can also move and glide in the water, however, female scallops can fly for a longer amount of time.

Concerns were first raised about the impact of bottom-tow fishing on the Lyme Regis Bay reef in the 1990s and exclusion zones were created in parts of the bay.

In 2008, Lyme Regis Bay became the UK’s largest marine protected area under a statutory instrument protecting marine biodiversity through the exclusion of bottom-towed fishing gear.

The RETURN project, is run by researchers from Plymouth University and is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.