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Isle of Man Gov reminds fishermen of need to have fishing licence during king scallop season

King scallop fishing season begins on Wednesday until May 2018. Photo: Helen McKenna, ITV

The Isle of Man Government are reminding fishermen they must have a licence to fish during scallop season.

Fishing for king scallops will commence this Wednesday until May, with this year's catch limit of just over 1,000 kilos - down from 1,400 last year.

Last November 'fishing races', involving an influx of boats from Ireland and Scotland, caused alarm, as king scallops are a major source of income for residents during the season.

Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Geoffrey Boot MHK said, "Landings of king scallops from the Irish Sea, and in particular from Manx waters, have risen rapidly since 2006.

When the king scallop season started last November, there was a highly visible presence of vessels in Manx waters and landings were exceptionally high, leading to alarm from those who rely on the species for income and jobs for many months.

My department imposed a temporary daily catch limit to slow down fishing to ensure stocks were sustainable for the rest of the season and for the longer term."

Scientists at the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture inspect king scallops. Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

DEFA has substantially reduced the number of vessels licenced to fish for king scallops.

In setting the catch, Mr Boot has followed a recommendation from the Isle of Man Scallop Management Board, which is made up of scientists and industry representatives from the Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A 6pm to 6am curfew on fishing, a minimum landing size and the need for vessels to be fitted with trackers have all been implemented.

The fishery will be robustly policed and anyone found flouting the law will face prosecution as we safeguard the industry in the long term.

– DEFA Minister Geoffrey Boot MHK