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Isle of Man King Scallop fishery opens

The 1 November sees the start of the Isle of Man King Scallop fishery. The fishery is regarded as a very well managed fishery that sees fishermen, scientists, producers and government working alongside each other to ensure a long term and sustainable approach to King Scallop fishing.

Open and closed area policy that has been implemented over the past decade has lead to an increased reproductive output of the large, King Scallops in the closed areas which has allowed enough spawn to populate areas outside the closures resulting in stronger and quicker recruitment of stocks.

Today there are also various measures in place which include vessel satellite monitoring and strict controls regarding landings. For more information regarding the fishery, click on the King Scallop link here.

King scallops are bivalve molluscs found in a range of depths from shallow waters. They live within the sandy-gravel of the seabed. King Scallops have two shells, the upper being flat, and the under or right valve, cup shaped. They are hermaphrodites (i.e. both male and female) and become fully mature for commercial fishing at about 3 years old. Spawning occurs in the warmer months normally from April to September. The species can grow to more than 20cm in length and live for more than 20 years, although average sizes are in the range of 10-16cm.

In past years the  King Scallop population around the Isle of Man were studied by the Port Erin Marine Laboratory (University of Liverpool). The data provided information on biological parameters, such as growth and reproduction, as well as fisheries recruitment and stock structure. Since 2008, additional data surveys have been conducted by the Manx Government, in conjunction with the University of Bangor, with a view to more formalized stock assessments. No quotas are currently in place for Isle of Man Scallops, although a minimum size limit of 110mm is in place, compared with 100mm for most UK waters. There have been no obvious declines in landings, with markets limiting landings.

 

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