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New Scallop Conservation Measures 20 July 2006

Phil Gawne, the Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry announced today the introduction of a series of additional measures to assist with the management of the Isle of Man scallop and queenie fisheries. Following on from consultation with local fishermen, any vessel wishing to fish for scallops or queenies within 3 miles of the Island will be required to install satellite transponder equipment. All such vessels will have to maintain a detailed catch and effort logbook which is to be returned to the Department. A 12 hour curfew is also to be introduced for queenies.

The Minister stated:

“The Department is determined to ensure that the Isle of Man scallop and queenie fisheries are managed in an equitable and sustainable way. We cannot attempt to ensure sustainability without detailed and reliable information. The measures I am announcing today were developed in partnership with the Manx Fish Producer’s Organisation and take effect on 1st November 2006. They will, for the first time, provide comprehensive data about the fishery. This will allow my Department to consider any necessary additional measures that could benefit everyone who fishes in Manx waters in the future.”

“The introduction of a curfew within the queenie fishery from 6 pm to 6 am, mirrors the one already in existence in the scallop fishery. This curfew has been generally accepted within the fishing industry as playing a major role in maintaining a viable fishery. My Department is also minded to phase out the use of dredges for queenies inside three miles within the next few years. The Queenie grounds inside three miles can all be fished with trawls, which produce a better quality product and have a much lower environmental impact than dredges. This will, of course, be subject to an assessment of the likely impact on those few local vessels that have not yet switched to using trawl nets for queenies.”

Notes:

The Manx scallop and queenie fisheries support around 20 local fishing vessels, and four processing factories, directly employing over 150 people.

The Isle of Man already has in place a number of ground breaking regulations to protect the fishery, including gear restrictions, seasonal closures, a curfew and a closed area off Port Erin.

At present all fishing vessels over 15m in length are required to carry equipment that transmits data to DAFF on the position, course and speed of a vessel. This requirement will be extended to any vessel, regardless of size, wishing to fish for scallops or queenies inside three miles. Vessels fishing for other species, such as crab and lobster, will not be required to fit transponders.

The Department is to make transponders available to Manx registered fishing vessels free of charge.

A large number of Manx vessels have voluntarily maintained detailed catch and effort logbooks on the scallop fishery for scientists at the Port Erin Marine Laboratory for many years. These logbooks are more detailed than those required under EU law. The extension of these logbooks to all vessels fishing for scallops and queenies will allow DAFF to obtain a uniquely detailed understanding of the local fisheries.

Further details can be obtained from Mr A Read, Manager, Sea Fisheries Development. Tel: 686045

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