The Island’s Scallop Management Board (SMB) has made recommendations to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture on the management of the forthcoming king scallop season, which starts on 1 November this year and runs through until the end of May 2019.
Acknowledging the long-term importance of the king scallop fishery to the Island’s maritime economy, and the continuing decline in king scallop stocks, Board members agreed that a reduction in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the coming season was essential in order to protect the vulnerable stock.
The Board recommended that the TAC be reduced from last season’s 3,203 tonnes to a new TAC limit of 2,562 tonnes for the 2018/19 season. It also recommended a daily catch limit of 700kg per vessel and a closure of the fishery over the Christmas and New Year period.
These decisions are based upon an authoritative report produced by the Department’s independent fisheries science advisors at Bangor University. It shows that king scallop stocks are continuing to decline, and that a precautionary approach is needed to ensure the long-term viability of the sector.
The Minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK, has supported in full the recommendations from the Board and has asked for close monitoring of the fishery.
'The economic effect of the declining king scallop stock has been hidden by the higher prices being charged, but there is no mistaking the downward trend in the availability of this valuable resource. Bangor University’s report clearly shows this to be true. That’s why I endorse the recommendations of the Scallop Management Board. Reducing the total catch across the coming season will ensure that this continues to be a sustainable and economically worthwhile business for all those who fish for king scallops in Manx waters.'
The new regulations follow the appointment of a new Chair for the Isle of Man Scallop Management Board.
Jennifer Mouat comes to the role with extensive experience in the fishing industry, initially with the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) before working with the Scottish Whitefish Producers’ Association.
Whilst working with the SSMO she was instrumental in introducing a management framework which ensured that the fishery was sustainable both from a stock and economic perspective.
Amongst other qualifications she holds an MA in Environmental Policy and Society.