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New Marine Protected area for the Isle of Man

Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for DEFA, has confirmed the designation of Baie ny Carrickey as the latest in a network of Isle of Man Marine Protected Areas.  A new byelaw comes into effect on the 1 November 2012, prohibiting the use of mobile fishing gears in the designated area, and the taking of scallops by any method.

He was quoted “Following a packed public meeting held in Port St Mary this summer, I created a committee tasked with advising the Department on the potential boundaries for a protected area off Port St Mary.

I am delighted that this committee, comprising of commercial fishermen, a diver, a charter angler and the Manx Wildlife Trust have been able to recommend an area for permanent protection.

This closure should be of benefit to all marine stakeholders- scallop fishermen will benefit in the long term from increased spat production and recruitment on adjacent fishing grounds, pot fishermen and charter anglers should see increased returns, and the seabed itself will no longer be affected by mobile fishing gears. The speed at which this designation has been made only serves to underline the progress that the Isle of Man has made in building consensus over the last few years on issues such as this, further demonstrating that commercial fishing and conservation interests can work together successfully to the benefit of all.”

He added: “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the chairman of the committee, Alex Maddrell, and to all committee members, for taking such a constructive and collaborative approach to this issue, and congratulate them on the outcome.”

A spokesperson for the Manx Wildlife Trust said: “The Manx Wildlife Trust was delighted to be a part of this collaborative process to close another area of Manx waters and are pleased that the Minister is supportive of the committee’s proposal. The protection that this will give to this sensitive area of seabed will be beneficial not only for the valuable marine life that it supports, but also to all other users of the sea; a real win-win outcome.”

The designated area will run from Black Head (Kione Dhoo) to Scarlett Stack and will be closed to all trawling, dredging and all extraction of scallops, from November 1st 2012.

Baie ny Carrickey Closed Area protects 11km2 (1100 hectares) of seabed, including important kelp forests, diverse rocky reef habitat and limestone ledges encrusted in marine life. The site includes seabed off Kallow Point (Port St Mary ledges), Perwick Bay. and the Sugar Loaf.

It is the 6th Marine Protected Area now designated in Manx waters. The other areas already designated are Port Erin (established in 1989), Douglas (2008), Laxey (2009), Niarbyl (2009) and Ramsey Marine Nature Reserve (2011).

Just over 3% of the Manx seabed now protected from trawling and dredging within Fisheries Closed Areas and the Marine Nature Reserves.

Evidence from Port Erin Closed Area and from studies of Marine Protected Areas around the world has shown how protecting areas of the seabed benefits adjacent fisheries and the marine environment over a much larger area.

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