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Divers reminded of scallop conservation measures 26 April 2007

The onset of fine spring weather normally coincides with increased interest by visiting and local SCUBA divers in enjoying the clear waters and wonderful diving that the Isle of Man has to offer. The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry are issuing a reminder to all divers that regulations to protect shellfish stocks in Manx waters also apply to them.

In particular, it is an offence to take any scallop, at any time, from the closed area off Port Erin. The area has been closed to all forms of fishing, other than rod and line, and potting, for a decade. During this time the scallop population has recovered from many years of heavy fishing. Commercial scallop fishermen agreed in 2003 to extend the area for 3 years to provide a greater area of refuge, and further extended this period by another 3 years in 2006.

Any diver retaining scallops from the closed area is committing an offence under the Sea-Fisheries (Experimental Area) Byelaws and may be liable to a fine of up to £50,000.

Divers are also reminded that a closed season for scallops applies from June 1st to October 30th each year, and that it is an offence to remove or take any scallop during this period. Scallops taken in season must have a minimum shell size of 110mm.

No person is permitted to fish for, take or kill scallops within the three mile area surrounding the Isle of Man after 18.00 hours GMT or before 06.00 hours GMT.

Notes: The closed area covers an area which is west of Port Erin bay for approximately 1500m, and includes the area from Fleshwick Bay northwards to Milner’s Tower. Coordinates of the outer boundary are 54 05.50 N 004 48.00 W and 54 04.40 N 00 4 48.00 W.

A map showing the closed area is available from the Department at Rose House, 51 - 59, Circular Road, Douglas, Tel: 685851

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