The Isle of Man’s king scallop fishery is to close temporarily from Friday 22nd December 2017 to Wednesday 3rd January 2018, reopening on Thursday 4th January.
The decision has been taken by the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) based on the advice of the Isle of Man Scallop Management Board.
The body was established to advise the Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture on the sustainable management of the Island’s scallop fisheries.
The king scallop fishery opened on 1st November 2017 and runs until 31st May 2018, but is subject to temporary and early closure.
For the 2017/18 season the Scallop Management Board recommended a total allowable catch for the king scallop fishery of 3,203 tonnes and a daily catch limit of 1,050kg per vessel.
This was based on a stock assessment prepared by scientists at Bangor University scientists in May 2017, which indicated a concerning decline in stocks.
The Scallop Management Board has been closely monitoring the fishery in conjunction with DEFA and scientists to ensure ongoing sustainability.
The daily catch limit was reduced to 700kg per vessel on 27 November to ensure fishing opportunities could continue to the end of the season without risk of exceeding the total allowable catch.
The Scallop Management Board has reviewed the fishery’s performance and agreed that, to safeguard stocks, the king scallop fishery should close over Christmas and New Year, when fishing is negligible and the processing factories tend to close down.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘The king scallop fishery is worth in the region of £12 million to the Isle of Man. Given the fishery’s economic importance we are determined to diligently steward the fishery so that it sustainable and available for generations to come.
‘I am pleased with the manner in which the fishery has been managed this season. Fishing activity will continue to be monitored throughout the closure, with fisheries officers on standby.’