A further review of the Isle of Man queen scallop fishery has been conducted and a decision for the continuing management of the 2019 fishery has been shared with the Scallop Management Board.
From Monday 19 August 2019 only the East Douglas area will remain open to queen scallop fishing, with other areas of the territorial sea closed to allow queen scallop stocks on other grounds to recover. Fishing will continue to be permitted in the East Douglas area until:
- The catch rate has dropped from its current level of seven bags (35kg) per hour, to a predetermined level which balances environmental and commercial considerations, or,
- A revised trawl TAC of 557 tonnes is reached.
The decision will enable specific data collection aimed at improving future area management options for the fishery. Details of the decision will be communicated to the industry via a variation to licence conditions that will be issued by the 16 August.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has worked closely with partners from the Scallop Management Board, Manx Fish Producers’ Organisation and Bangor University to conduct the review.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘Whilst we must close the rest of the territorial sea for this season, reported queen scallop catch in the East Douglas area since the 1 July has remained relatively high and we can therefore keep this area open to fishing until the catch rate suggests otherwise.
‘Closing the rest of the territorial sea is not a decision taken lightly, and I hope both the industry and wider public will acknowledge that this is a decision being made for the future sustainability of the industry and our queen scallop stocks.
‘As well as seeking feedback from the Scallop Management Board, we have also spoken directly with industry who have provided us with some useful suggestions which have been included as part of the review.’
The Isle of Man Government will continue to offer financial assistance in areas such as diversification under the Agriculture and Fisheries Grant Scheme to support the industry.