The Isle of Man’s king scallop fishery is now rated among the most sustainably managed in the British Isles by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
The improved rating appears in the MCS’s annual Good Fish Guide, which includes around 600 reviews that help consumers make informed decisions about seafood they consume.
The upgraded rating follows improvements to the fishery and its management in the last two years, which culminated in the launch of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Long-Term Management Plan.
The Long-term Management Plan, developed by industry, scientists, and government working together, places the UNESCO Biosphere principles of sustainability as the fishery's primary long-term objective.
Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: 'This influential guide has been running for a number of years and this excellent news reflects some bold and innovative decisions taken by the Scallop Management Board in partnership with my Department. The ratings should give consumers confidence that they are supporting a sustainable product and that our fishery Island’s resources are well managed.’
A spokesperson for MCS said: ‘The rating indicates that the Isle of Man's management approach demonstrates some very good practices, and it is clearly extensively researched, monitored and reported on.’
According to this year’s surveys conducted by Bangor University and the Manx Fish Producers' Organisation, which work together to undertake what is the most detailed and accurate scallop survey in the north east Atlantic, the abundance of king scallops in the Island’s territorial sea is the third highest since surveys began in the 1990s, and the number of juvenile scallops indicates a positive outlook for future years. It is hoped that the management approach under the Long-term Management Plan will ensure stocks of king scallops remain sustainable into the future.
The improvements to the Island’s king scallop fishery rating follows similar results for the Isle of Man’s queen scallop fishery, which is considered to be the most sustainably managed wild-capture queenie fishery, in the British Isles.