A daily catch limit for king scallops, introduced in November, has helped to keep stocks sustainable.
That is the message from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) as it announces the 1,400kg a day limit for king scallops caught in Manx waters is lifted from today.
The limit was imposed amid concern over large catches of the shellfish when the fishery opened on 1 November. The season runs until the end of May.
It was the latest of several measures designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the economically important fishery.
DEFA Minister Geoffrey Boot MHK pledged to keep the limit under review.
Announcing its lifting, the Minister said:
‘Close analysis of data indicates that the catch limit has achieved its aim of reducing the extreme fishing activity that occurred at the start of the season and has ensured more measured catch rates, which will lead to a prolonged fishery.
‘There has been a downward trend in catch per boat per day, with many vessels licensed to fish for king scallops not achieving the daily limit.
‘We will continue to carefully monitor fishing and to liaise with the industry and will re-establish a limit if we need to.’
‘My Department is making progress towards carrying out a scientific stock assessment for king scallops in Manx waters, in the same way we do with queen scallops, and this will greatly assist our understanding of stocks.
‘It is also working towards the creation of a King Scallop Management Board, which will operate on a similar basis to the Queen Scallop Board and allow industry to have formal input on management decisions affecting the fishery.’
For background, see Daily catch limit for king scallop fishery.