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Minister Issues Stark Reminder on Queenies 17 December 2012

Image of Queenies sizing against 1p coinsDEFA Minister Phil Gawne has issued a stern warning to fishermen wishing to land immature queenies into the Isle of Man for processing, or to carry them through Manx waters. Speaking today he said

“A random factory inspection yesterday produced evidence of significant amounts of undersized queenies being landed into the Isle of Man. Many of these queenies were at or below the Isle of Man minimum landings size of 50mm, and were simply too poor quality to process. Further inspection of factory premises indicated that these small queenies were being rejected by processing staff, and were simply being dumped. The small queenies have tiny meat yields, are hard to process and unprofitable. This landing showed complete disregard for the future of the Irish Sea fishery. They should be left on the seabed until they have had a chance to mature.”
“The queenies inspected had been taken by a dredge vessel fishing in Liverpool Bay. I am powerless to prevent these fishermen from wiping out the stock there, and dumping inferior product on the market. However, I will not condone these practices by tolerating the carriage or landing of this rubbish through Manx Territorial Waters. My officers have been instructed to step up random checks of queenie dredgers passing through Manx waters, and I would remind all skippers that it is an offence to possess undersized queenies in the Territorial Sea, no matter where they may have been caught.”

Notes:

  1. The Isle of Man has stricter measures in place to protect queenies than anywhere else in the British Isles. The Minimum Landing Size for queenies in Manx waters is 50mm; elsewhere in European waters it is 40mm.
  2. The Queenie Management Board, comprising fishermen and processors, requested a closure of the Isle of Man queenie fishery in September 2012, as a response to concerns about overfishing. There are no measures in place to conserve queenies elsewhere in the Irish Sea, and landings remain unrestricted.
  3. Larger queenies in the 55-60mm range landed by Manx trawlers produce much high meat yields and are easier to process. These queenies have also been able to spawn several times, ensuring a much greater chance of future recruitment to the stock.
  4. Dredge caught queenies are not eligible to carry the Marine Stewardship Council or Protected Designation of Origin accreditations, that have been awarded to trawl caught Isle of Man queenies- consumers seeing queenies with these labels can be assured that their products is of the highest quality, and guaranteed as being fished sustainably.

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