15th May 2012
Prince of Wales praises Island’s efforts to promote sustainable fishing
HRH The Prince of Wales praised the Isle of Man’s pioneering approach to fishing conservation during his keynote speech at the World Fisheries Congress in Edinburgh.
His Royal Highness said his recent visit to the Isle of Man had allowed him to witness at first-hand how the partnership between the Manx Government, trawler skippers and fish processors is reaping rewards. The willingness of the Island’s fishing community to embrace scientific research, promote marine conservation and manage its fish stocks was very encouraging, he told the international audience.
Prince Charles learned about the Isle of Man’s long-standing commitment to sustainable fishing, in particular within the Manx trawl-caught queen scallop industry, when he opened the new Food Park in Peel at the end of April. And he drew on that experience when he addressed the World Fisheries Congress, the international conference held every four years to debate developments in fisheries science, conservation and management.
Prince Charles said:
‘It seems to me that collecting the data we need to manage risks could be achieved, in part, by harnessing the knowledge of the people who actually catch the fish. They are out there on the ocean day after day and they often have a much clearer insight into the state of the marine environment they work in than anyone else. Inevitably, though, this has to be about a lot more than gathering reliable data. It is also about building trust between the scientists and the various other stakeholders, and making sure that everyone has confidence in the process of assessing stocks and rebuilding fisheries. I witnessed exactly this at first hand a couple of weeks ago when I visited the Isle of Man. I found that the fishing community there very much understands the implications for them of the science of stock recovery and the extent to which the protection of spawning grounds is important to the future of their livelihoods. In fact, they accept the science to the point where they have requested the designation of marine protected areas. In a world of rather gloomy portents about the state of the environment, I found this encouraging.’
Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK, who welcomed the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to the Island on April 26 as part of the Diamond Jubilee Royal Tour, said:
‘Prince Charles was very interested to learn about the Isle of Man’s vision for protecting the marine environment, preserving fish stocks and promoting biodiversity during his visit to the new Food Park. It’s pleasing that he is now sharing that positive experience and raising international awareness of the Isle of Man as a leading advocate of fishing conservation.’