The views of people in the fishing industry are being sought on proposed measures to improve the way the Island’s crab and lobster fisheries are managed.
A consultation, launched today, asks for views on a range of ideas that could affect commercial fishers, seafood processors and recreational potters.
Crab and lobster fishing is allowed all year round in Manx territorial waters and landings of these species in 2018 was worth around £1.7m to the Manx economy.
Existing measures allow British registered and licensed fishing vessels with a specific license to catch shellfish, and an Isle of Man Sea Fishing Licence to fish for both in Manx waters.
Baited pots are anchored to the seabed and soaked for a period of time before being hauled to empty, re-baited and the process repeated.
The six-week consultation seeks views on issues including:
- Fishing capacity that is authorised but not used
- Increasing the minimum landing sizes
- Pots allocation and identification of gear
- Area specific controls to manage stocks
- An option for a long-term, industry supported scientific research programme
- Introducing a sustainable velvet crab fishery
- A scheme to encourage adults to consider a career in fishing
- The cost of recreational licenses
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘The crab and lobster fisheries in the waters around the Isle of Man have significant commercial importance so we must do all we can to make sure they are being fished effectively and sustainably.
‘During this process we want to hear from anyone who works in this industry to help the Department make the right decisions for the long-term future of the fishery.’
The measures have been developed by DEFA, with assistance from the Isle of Man Crab and Lobster Working Group, which was created to assist in a recent fisheries review and included representatives from processors and Manx and Northern Irish fishermen.
The consultation can be found on the Government’s website until 7 December and paper copies are available from DEFA offices in St John’s.