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Isle of Man king scallop fishery

2021 SCE Season

The IOM king scallop season commences annually on 1 November and runs until 31 May.

King Scallop uptake report for the Isle of Man territorial sea 2021-2022

King Scallop Uptake report Week 30

Isle of Man King Scallop Long-term Management Plan (LTMP)

In August 2021, the Department launched a Joint Consultation with the Isle of Man Scallop Management Board on a long-term management plan for king scallop fishery management. The consultation closed on the 29 October, and a summary of responses was uploaded to the consultation hub in November. View the summary of responses document

DEFA, Bangor University and the Scallop Management Board worked collaboratively during the period November 2021 – March 2022 to develop an LTMP for the fishery, which was approved by the Department in April 2022. The LTMP document is available to download within the ‘downloadable documents’ section of this page. 

In the short-term, the Department will be introducing a number of policies under the LTMP, including a Capacity Reduction Programme, Termination of ‘Grandfather Rights’ (by 2024), technical changes to dredges and tow-bars, and a Research Contribution (Pilot) Scheme. More information is presented below:

Capacity Reduction Programme

The Department has introduced a policy (SF/04/2022), which implements the Capacity Reduction Programme objective of the LTMP. The policy applies a minimum track-record requirement for future eligibility of king scallop Specific Fishery Authorisations (‘SFAs’), which are specified in Section C of the Isle of Man sea fishing licence. More information on SFAs

To be clear, the track-record requirement is non-discriminatory, and applies equally to all authorisations irrespective of:

  • the size or power of the vessel to which they were, or are, currently allocated; and,
  • the home port to which the authorised vessel was, or is, registered.

In order to reduce capacity within the fishery, authorisations that do not meet at least one of the following criteria will become ineligible for access to the fishery by reverting to the Department and becoming extinct:

  • Evidence of at least 54 days fishing for King Scallops in the Isle of Man territorial sea during the period 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2020; or
  • Evidence of at least 27 days fishing for King Scallops in the Isle of Man territorial sea in any one season during the period 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2020 (i.e. the 2017/18, 2018/19, and (part of) the 2019/20 season).

This policy applies to ‘active’ authorisations (i.e. authorisations that are on active licences), and authorisations that may be ‘dormant’, (i.e. where they have been placed on-hold with the Department to allow for vessel replacement, or where an Isle of Man sea fishing licence has not yet been renewed for the 2022/23 licensing period). King Scallop SFAs that have already reverted to the Department (i.e. are ‘latent’) will also become extinct if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Important: The Capacity Reduction Programme includes an opportunity for affected persons to request a review of the Department’s initial determination of authorisation eligibility.

It is recommended that any person whose king scallop SFAs may be impacted by this policy reads the policy document, available in the downloadable documents section of this webpage. The Department will be writing to affected persons explaining the implications of the policy, and how they may make a request for a review.

Termination of Grandfather Rights

The Department has introduced a policy (SF/05/2022) under the LTMP, which shall terminate any remaining Grandfather Rights by 31 October 2024. In effect, this will mean that the Isle of Man king scallop fishery will not be accessible to ‘offshore’ vessels over-221 kW engine power from the 2024/25 fishing season.

Grandfather Rights were allocated to vessels with engine power in excess of 221 kW in 2010, and have been gradually phased out over time. In recognition that the Isle of Man king scallop fishery is an inshore fishery, any remaining Grandfather Rights are to be terminated prior to the start of the 2024/25 fishery.

More details can be found in the policy document within the downloadable documents section on this webpage. It is recommended that any person whose vessel may be impacted by this policy reads the policy document, and also consults the Specific Fishery Authorisation policy [SF/03/2022] regarding options around replacement vessels. View the Specific Fishery Authorisation policy.

Dredges-a-side and gear specifications

With effect from 1 November 2022, the Department shall impose new and adjusted measures relating to dredges-a-side, tow bar length, and teeth numbers. The regulations will read as follows (with significant changes compared to existing rules highlighted in bold):

A person on a fishing boat in the territorial waters of the Isle of Man must not fish for, take, or kill king scallops, using scallop dredges by means of —

(a)   a tow bar that exceeds 5.5 metres in length;

(b)   a tow bar 5.5 metres or less in length which is constructed in such a way as to enable more than 6 scallop dredges to be attached to it at the same time.

(c)   a scallop dredge with more than 8 teeth per dredge;

(d)   a tow bar that exceeds 185 mm in diameter;

(e)   a scallop dredge with a tooth spacing between the internal edges of less than 85 mm on the dredge or tooth bar;

(f)    a scallop dredge with belly rings having a clear opening of less than 75 mm internal diameter;

(g)   a scallop dredge with a mesh size of less than 100 mm in the netting cover; and

(h)   a French dredge.

A person on a fishing boat in the three mile area of the Isle of Man (0-3 NM zone) must not fish for, take, or kill king scallops, using scallop dredges by means of —

(a)   a system of scallop dredges with an aggregate width of more than 762 cms;

(b)   more than 10 dredges in total.

A person on a fishing boat in the extended territorial sea of the Isle of Man (3-12 NM zone) must not fish for, take, or kill king scallops, using scallop dredges by means of —

(a)   a system of scallop dredges with an aggregate width of more than 915 cms;

(b)   more than 6 scallop dredges from any side of the vessel; and,

(c)   more than 12 scallop dredges in total.

No person shall carry onboard any fishing boat within the territorial sea (0-12 NM zone) scallop fishing gear designed for king scallop fishing other than in accordance with the above conditions, or any tow bar extensions, except where —

(a)   the vessel is transiting the territorial sea at a speed of no less than 4.0 knots (speed over ground); and,

(b)  the gear is lashed and stowed so that it is not readily available for use whilst the vessel is in the territorial sea.

Research Contribution (Pilot) Scheme

The Department is currently trialling a pilot scheme that allows the industry to establish a Research Fund using ‘excess scallops’. Note: vessels are not automatically signed-up to the Scheme. Vessels and processors must sign-up together and have a permit issued by the Department.

The industry research fund is generated by the sale of excess scallops that vessels are currently required to discard in order to remain under the 700 kg daily catch limit. The Scheme shall be authorised by a conditional Fishery Improvement Permit issued by the Department.

The Scheme is initially used to support the MFPOs high-resolution scallop surveys, which has helped to manage stocks based on the best-available scientific data.

The Scheme will maximise the use of the scallop resource by reducing discards (providing conservation benefits) as well as supporting industry efforts to survey scallop populations and ensure fishing is sustainable.

Landings of excess scallops will count against the fishery Total Allowable Catch (quota) and are capped at 30 tonnes.

Initially, the Scheme will be limited to Island-based vessels and processors. The Scheme shall be reviewed in 2022, and participation may be extended to non-IOM vessels if it is shown to be successful.

How it works: Simply, processors receiving excess scallops from participating vessels (in addition to the 700 kg daily catch limit) must not pay the landed value of excess scallops to the vessel, but instead into an industry survey fund.

The fund shall have oversight from DEFA, who will monitor both landings and payments. Expenditure of the fund shall also have oversight from DEFA, and will be used to deliver the research priorities of the industry, represented by the Scallop Management Board.

Strict Terms and Conditions apply to those participating in the Scheme, which will be reviewed after this current season. The Scheme policy document is available for download in the ‘downloadable documents’ section of this page.

The Scheme is voluntary. If a vessel enters the scheme but does not comply with the conditions, it shall have its permit revoked. If a processor enters the scheme but does not comply with the conditions, all permits associated with that processor shall be revoked. The Department reserves the right to end the Scheme at any time by revoking all permits.

Further updates

The Department and the Scallop Management Board will continue to work closely on the implementation of the LTMP document. This may include additional measures and policies that aim to deliver a bio-economically successful inshore scallop fishery in the Islands territorial waters through a long-term strategy.

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