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Consultation Over the Territorial Sea 11 July 2005

    The Isle of Man Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has announced details of a wide-ranging and far-reaching consultation over the future of the Territorial Sea.

    The consultation is taking place in co-operation with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

    The Minister, Bill Henderson MHK, said:

    “A long term aim of the Isle of Man Government has been to extend jurisdiction for fisheries matters to the whole of the Territorial Sea. The Isle of Man Government feels that sole jurisdiction provides the best opportunity to maximise the benefits that the Territorial Sea provides for all stakeholders in the marine environment.

    “Local management of stocks is widely recognised as providing the greatest benefits to both fishermen and the marine environment. English and Welsh inshore fisheries have been managed by local committees for over 110 years, and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations have taken over responsibility for inshore fisheries in recent years.

    “The Isle of Man has already brought in a variety of innovative management and conservation measures within the Territorial Sea. These are widely credited with ensuring the sustainability of fisheries in these waters, to the advantage of all fishermen working within the Territorial Sea.

    “The commitment of the Manx Government to managing the fisheries resource responsibly is underlined by the operation of the fisheries patrol vessel, Barrule, as well as our long-term funding of research into fisheries in the Territorial Sea, including the closed area off Port Erin.”

    The Isle of Man Territorial Sea extends to 12 nautical miles, or the median line where there is less than 24 miles between shorelines.

    DAFF has issued a consultation document to all fishermen licensed to fish in the Territorial Sea and other stakeholders, outlining plans to put in place a new Fisheries Management Agreement (FMA). DEFRA has also issued the consultation document to the industry.

    The proposed changes in the FMA include introduction of a licensing scheme, guaranteeing existing fishermen permanent access to fish within the Territorial Sea, and extension to the Isle of Man of sole jurisdiction throughout the Territorial Sea.

    Under current arrangements, the Isle of Man has sole jurisdiction out to three nautical miles, and requires concurrence from the UK Secretary of State to bring in management measures between 3 and 12 nautical miles.

    The Isle of Man Government is responsible for enforcement of all fisheries legislation within the Territorial Sea.

    11th July 2005

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