A temporary daily limit is being introduced for the Island’s king scallop fishery with effect from Tuesday 15 November, following concerns over unsustainable catch rates.
The measure follows talks between the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and the fishing industry this week.
Vessels licensed to fish for king scallops in Manx waters may, from tomorrow, only catch 1,400kg per day.
The measure is the latest of several designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
In response to growing concerns over stocks, and following a public consultation, DEFA this season substantially restricted the number of vessels licenced to fish for king scallops.
It also implemented the first stages of an inshore marine zoning plan, establishing five no-fish conservation areas close to the coastline, which will aid stock replenishment.
Explaining the temporary catch limit, Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘Just as we do with the queen scallop fishery, where we review the catch and take steps to ensure stocks are fished sustainably, we have introduced this measure in light of the large amount of catch taken when the king scallop fishery opened on November 1st.
‘In the first six days of the 2016/17 season, almost 800 tonnes of king scallops were landed. This equates to almost a quarter of the catch recorded last season. Some vessels were landing in excess of 8,000kgs a day.
‘The limit will also reduce the risk of damage to juvenile king scallops, protect vulnerable queen scallop stocks and prevent damage to other marine habitats caused by the concentrated effort.
‘There is support from many local and visiting vessels for the limit as they share my concerns about the sustainability of the situation,’ the Minister said.
‘The limit will be in force for six weeks. We will keep the fishery under review and will take further measures, or relax them, according to our understanding of the impact on stocks.’