Views sought on IOM king scallop plans

A public consultation is seeking views on major changes to the future management of the Isle of Man’s king scallop industry to ensure its long-term sustainability.

The industry is of significant commercial importance for the island, generating up to several million pounds from landings in Manx territorial waters each year, depending on stock status and market demand.

Initiated by the Isle of Man Scallop Management Board (SMB) and jointly developed with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), the consultation follows industry calls for a longer-term and more strategic management plan.

If backed, the changes would mean a significant departure from the existing management framework to one that takes account of ‘bio-economics’, ensuring sustainability and conservation of the king scallop stock and economic sustainability for businesses.

People who work in the industry or have an interest in it are encouraged to share their views on proposals which include:

  • Long-term objectives
  • Co-management
  • Effort management and regulating fleet capacity
  • Technical measures
  • Industry-led research funding.

Geoffrey Boot, minister for environment, food and agriculture, said: “We have listened to the industry, and we now want their views to help us make the right decisions.

“The proposals would see a significant change in the management of the fishery so that opportunities are allocated in a way that allows for profitable levels of catch whilst also incorporating the fundamental biological limits of the resource – to help deliver a truly sustainable king scallop industry for the future.”

SMB industry representative Dr David Beard said: “In response to industry calls, we worked with DEFA and Bangor University to develop these proposals, which are grounded in the aim for long-term bioeconomic security for both the stock and people that depend on it.”

The 12-week consultation can be found here and will run until 29 October. Paper copies are also available from DEFA offices in St John’s.

People will be able to ask questions at a series of drop-in sessions that will be held during the consultation period at the Peel Hub at the Isle of Man Food Park. Details of the dates and times of these sessions will be promoted in the coming weeks.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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