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Innovative ‘eco-dredge’ highlight of Scallop Workshop 20 April 2007

Fisheries scientists and scallop fishermen from around the British Isles gathered in the Isle of Man last week for a workshop hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Manx Fish Producer’s Organisation (MFPO). The annual workshop, the third held around the British Isles aimed to allow fishermen to exchange views with scientists as well as to learn from the latest research into stock assessment, stock enhancement and improvements to fishing gear.

Opening the workshop, Minister for the Department, Phil Gawne MHK, said ‘The Isle of Man is pleased to host this forum, which can only be of benefit to everyone involved in scallop fisheries and their management. The Isle of Man has a proud history of innovation in relation to scallop management and conservation, and is pleased that it is able to contribute to the workshop in a constructive way.’

Delegates of Scallop Workshop view Hydro-dredge
Some of the delegates to the Scallop Workshop in Metalco, Port St Mary, inspecting the experimental ‘hydro-dredge’

Presentations were made by scientists from Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, with further input from the MFPO, Welsh Fishermen, fisheries managers and processors. A highlight of the trip was a visit to Metalco, a scallop gear factory in Port St Mary, where a new prototype ‘hydro dredge’ is being prepared for sea trials. This dredge works by using water pressure to displace scallops from the seabed, rather than metal teeth, and it is hoped that the dredge will reduce costs to fishermen, and impact on the seabed. Initial sea trials are to take place on 25th and 26th April, on board the Bangor University research vessel Prince Madog, which will take local scallop skippers to sea with a view to obtaining their views on the new dredge. Scallop fishermen wishing to take part in the initial trials are invited to contact the Department on 686045 for further details.

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