The Isle of Man king scallop seasonal fishery opened at the beginning of this month, with licensed boats on a daily quota of 700kg, in line with new catch limits brought in by the Manx government to regulate the fishery.
A lower number of licensed boats than in previous years fished The Targets to the west side of the Isle of Man on the opening day, when boats started to return to Peel before midday to land their allocation. Following two days of fair weather, fishing was curtailed by a succession of gales.
Before the start of the traditional winter fishery, the island’s Scallop Management Board recommended to the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture that the TAC should be reduced from last season’s 3,203t to 2,562t for the 2018/19 fishery, together with a daily catch limit of 700kg per vessel, and a closure of the fishery over the Christmas and New Year period (6pm on 21 December to 6am on 3 January).
These management measures are based on an authoritative report produced by the department’s independent fisheries science advisors at Bangor University. It showed that king scallop stocks are continuing to decline, and that a precautionary approach is needed to ensure the long-term viability of the sector. The daily catch limit will be monitored monthly.
The traditional winter fishery is important for local Manx boats, as well as for vessels from a number of ports bordering the east and west shorelines of the Irish Sea.
Darren Purves captured some of the early action aboard skipper Wayne Caley’s Lynn Marie PL 178.