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Manx king scallop fishery sees sustainability rating increased

Thursday, 5 October 2023

Collage of scallops, fishing boats and scallop shellsThe Isle of Man’s king scallop fishery, which opens next month, is now rated among the most sustainably managed in the British Isles by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

The improved rating appears in the MCS’s annual Good Fish Guide, which includes around 600 reviews that help consumers make informed decisions about seafood they consume.

The upgraded rating follows improvements to the fishery and its management in the last two years, which culminated in the launch of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Long-Term Management Plan.

Some of these changes include:

  • An improvement in the abundance and resilience in both adult and juvenile king scallops in the Manx territorial sea

  • Greater controls on the number of vessels involved in the fishery

  • Changes to the type of fishing gear allowed

  • The use of closed and restricted areas to protect scallops and sensitive habitats

  • Industry involvement in improving scientific surveys and stock assessments, which inform how quotas are set

Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture: said:

‘This influential guide has been running for a number of years and this excellent news reflects some bold and innovative decisions taken by the Scallop Management Board in partnership with my Department. The ratings should give consumers confidence that they are supporting a sustainable product and that our fishery Island’s resources are well managed.’

A spokesperson for MCS said:

‘The rating indicates that the Isle of Man's management approach demonstrates some very good practices, and it is clearly extensively researched, monitored and reported on.’

According to this year’s surveys conducted by Bangor University and the Manx Fish Producers Organisation, the abundance of king scallops in the island’s territorial sea is the third highest since surveys began in the 1990s, and the number of juvenile scallops indicates a positive outlook for future years.

It is hoped that the management approach under the Long-term Management Plan will ensure stocks of king scallops remain sustainable into the future.

The improvements to the Island’s king scallop fishery rating follows similar results for the Isle of Man’s queen scallop fishery, which is considered to be the most sustainably managed, wild-capture queenie fishery, in the British Isles.

The MCS currently advises consumers to avoid any wild-capture queen scallops that are caught outside of the Isle of Man territorial sea due to the lack of management and scientific data. This means that Manx queenies, which were voted as the Island’s national dish in 2018, can be enjoyed with confidence.

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