Fishing vessel owners and skippers who misreport their king scallop catch from Manx waters risk having their licences suspended following further discussions between the Isle of Man Government and other Irish Sea jurisdictions.
Eighty nine vessels are licensed to fish for king scallops in Manx waters this season (1 November 2017 to 31 May 2018).
Concerns over misreporting prompted the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture to take action to protect stocks for all who rely on the fishery for a living by requiring vessels to report daily to a Manx port for catch inspection.
From Monday (January 29), this requirement will be lifted and instead the Department will suspend licences of vessels where there are reasonable grounds to suspect owners/skippers are cheating by under-declaring their catch.
Licence suspension may also be invoked if other breaches of regulations are identified.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘Manx waters form the heart of the king scallop fishing industry and fleets around the Irish Sea rely on them for a living.
‘The Isle of Man Government has the support of UK fisheries partners in taking steps to ensure stocks are sustainable.
‘We hope owners and skippers will take their obligation to accurately record their catch more seriously if they know cheating won’t be tolerated and they could lose access to Manx waters.
‘The measure will not impact on the vast majority of law-abiding owners and crews who understand and co-operate with regulations.’