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Sea-Fisheries (Protection of Migratory Fish Species) Bye-laws 2005 23 November 2005

    The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has issued a Public Notice about bye-laws for the protection of salmon and sea trout. Tynwald approved the Sea-Fisheries (Protection of Migratory Fish Species) Bye-laws 2005 at its November sitting. The Bye-laws take immediate effect.

    The Bye-laws prohibit netting in a restricted zone consisting of the sandy beaches on the north-west and north-east coasts of the Island, from the north end of Peel Bay, round the Point of Ayre, to the northern side of Ramsey Harbour. Netting is not permitted from the beach and out to 750 metres seawards from the high water mark.

    The Bye-laws provide for a fine of £5,000 on summary conviction, or for an unlimited fine on conviction on information, for anyone guilty of an offence under the Bye-laws.

    The Bye-laws do not affect the operation of commercial fishing vessels, because their gear and fishing methods do not affect migratory species.

    The Bye-laws also make provision for anglers to net sand eels as bait, for which the Department may grant licences. Sand eel netting will be permitted under licence during the hours of daylight, in the period from 1st June to 30th September in each year. Two areas are designated for sand eel netting, at Smeale and the Dog Mills.

    There are conditions as to the construction of a sand eel net, which must always be accompanied by the licence holder.

    It is already illegal to retain migratory salmon and sea trout caught in the sea. However, where other species such as bass have been targeted, the sort of net which is used, the mesh size and the method of fishing, mean that salmon and sea trout are also taken.

    These migratory species have been reducing in numbers in the past 20 or 30 years, not just in the Island, but throughout western Europe. It is, therefore, important to protect these species in our coastal waters, so that they can then enter our rivers to spawn and produce future generations.

    The Bye-laws are the result of a lengthy period of dialogue. After public consultation almost exactly a year ago, the Department received 46 responses. The Department incorporated some of the points raised in a further draft of the Bye-laws, and these were sent out again to the 46 people who had responded.

    Arising from this second draft, 24 of the 46 people again responded, the majority of them positively. The fine detail was then the subject of close liaison between the Department and the Isle of Man Angling Federation, the Manx Fish Producers’ Organisation and an individual with particular practical knowledge of, and interest in, the issue.

    23rd November 2005

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