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Visit to France to Study Scallop Fishery 4 May 2007

A number of Manx scallop fishermen returned from a study tour of scallop fisheries in France and Jersey recently with plenty of food for thought. The trip, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, visited two areas of Brittany with very successful, and well managed, scallop fisheries, which produce 8,000 tonnes of scallops a year.

The scallop fishery in St Brieuc is open for just one hour a day, three days a week, and is subject to strict enforcement. A second fishery near Brest, relies almost entirely on seeding from scallop spat produced in a hatchery that is owned and run by the local Fishermen’s Association.

Frankie Horne, one of the local skippers on the trip, who went out on a French vessel, said ‘Even now, two weeks after seeing this fishing, it still amazes me when I talk about a one hour a day fishery where a small boat can land 48 bags of scallops. The fishery is run by the fishermen who work their landings to suit the market, and build up their scallop stocks for the long term, rather than for a quick hit’.

Graham Cregeen, Member of the Department responsible for Fisheries, who accompanied the party, said ‘Whilst current conservation measures have ensured our stocks are better protected than elsewhere in the British Isles, this extremely successful trip demonstrated the potential we have on the Isle of Man to further improve stocks and profitability within the Manx scallop fishing industry.’

‘I was particularly interested in the success of the scallop hatchery run by French fishermen, and the potential for a similar venture in the Isle of Man which, if managed correctly, could guarantee a prosperous future for the industry.’

Commenting on the trip, Phil Gawne MHK, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry commented “This trip provided us with a great deal of very interesting information, and something that I am determined the Island will build on in the coming months to further enhance the reputation the Island has already forged for sound conservation and management of our fish stocks.’

Scallops caught after ten minutes
A French fisherman hauls in after a 10 minute tow

A French fisherman empties a dredge following a ten-minute tow

Manx meets French
Manx fishermen with the manager of the scallop hatchery near Brest

Manx fishermen meet with their French counterparts

Notes to editors:

A party of 10 from the Isle of Man visited fishermen and managers in Jersey, St Brieuc and Brest, over a period of 4 days, including 5 skippers, the chief executive of the MFPO, a local processor, Bruno LeKerblat of Carrick Bay Seafoods, who also acted as translator, and Dr Sam Shephard, who advises DAFF on fisheries matters.

The scallop fishery in St Brieuc is run entirely by local fishermen. It supports a fleet of 250 vessels, landing 8,000 tonnes of scallop a year from an area smaller than the Manx Territorial Sea.

The trip included a guided tour of the only commercial scallop hatchery in Europe, visits to fish markets and three ports, and meetings with fishermen’s associations in all three areas. 4 Manx fishermen were also able to go to sea to witness the fishery at first hand.

A DVD of the trip, including footage of the fishery itself will be shown to MFPO members at an open meeting in Peel, and highlights of this will be placed on the DAFF website in the coming weeks.

For further information contact Andy Read, Sea Fisheries Development Manager, Telephone: 686045.

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