Speaking today he said
'Following a packed public meeting held in Port St Mary this summer, I created a committee tasked with advising the Department on the potential boundaries for a protected area off Port St Mary. I am delighted that this committee, comprising commercial fishermen, a diver, a charter angler and the Manx Wildlife Trust have been able to recommend an area for permanent protection. This closure should be of benefit to all marine stakeholders- scallop fishermen will benefit in the long term from increased spat production and recruitment on adjacent fishing grounds, pot fishermen and charter anglers should see increased returns, and the seabed itself will no longer be affected by mobile fishing gears. The speed at which this designation has been made only serves to underline the progress that the Isle of Man has made in building consensus over the last few years on issues such as this, further demonstrating that commercial fishing and conservation interests can work together successfully to the benefit of all.'
'I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the chairman of the Committee, Alex Maddrell, and to all Committee members, for taking such a constructive and collaborative approach to this issue, and congratulate them on the outcome.'
A spokesperson for the Manx Wildlife Trust commented
'The Manx Wildlife Trust was delighted to be a part of this collaborative process to close another area of Manx waters and are pleased that the Minister is supportive of the committee’s proposal. The protection that this will give to this sensitive area of seabed will be beneficial not only for the valuable marine life that it supports, but also to all other users of the sea; a real win-win outcome.'