Isle of Man queen scallop season underway…

Scientific date shows good stocks

The Isle of Man queen scallop season has commenced with the same catch limits as 2019.

This year has been a challenging one for the industry with the global pandemic having a devastating impact on seafood markets. However, a recent industry survey of Manx scallop beds revealed good news with encouraging signs of an increase in queen scallop stocks.

The survey is normally carried out by scientists from Bangor University in April, however the University was unable to bring its vessel to the Island this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. Instead the University worked with the Manx Fish Producers’ Organisation (MFPO) and local fishing crews to collect the data in May.

The data enabled Bangor scientists to estimate changes in queen scallop stocks and, for the first time in many years, the numbers were positive on all grounds.

The Isle of Man Scallop Management Board (SMB) met in early June to review the results and determine how best to sustainably manage the fishery this year – whilst maximising the quality and value of Manx queenies. The Board agreed a total catch for the season be set at 557 tonnes with each vessel being permitted to land up to 2,695kg per week. 

The Board also agreed that certain areas which had previously been closed to fishing in order to protect juvenile stock could re-open on a restricted basis, with access managed by the MFPO.  Other areas where high densities of young stock were recorded would be closed to protect this sensitive life stage.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture: told B365: ‘The good news from the survey should allow fishermen to fish more widely, although continuing market uncertainty means we must take a cautious approach.

‘The industry can take some advantage of the improved stock situation, but it must be done in line with sustainable harvesting and market demand, as I will not risk the hard progress made so far.  The Board has confirmed its intention to monitor the fishery on a regular basis and I look forward to frequent updates.’ 

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