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'A commercially viable Manx fishery could be a reality for the first time in 25 years' – DEFA Minister

Wed, 01 Nov 2023

Following the recent successful herring catch, the Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DEFA) Clare Barber MHK has said “a commercially viable Manx fishery could be a reality for the first time in 25 years”.

Local fishermen have successfully caught the allocated 100 tonne quota of herring in Manx waters within weeks of receiving Government support to diversify.

Three local crews took advantage of the financial support provided by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture following new UK quotas earlier this year.

Manx fishermen had been free to catch herring for centuries before the EU Common Fisheries Policy introduced quotas in the 1980s. But by the time stocks had recovered the island had largely been excluded – driving most fishermen to focus their efforts on scallops.

Minister Barber added that a “functioning local herring fishery will also reduce pressure on other stocks such as scallops in the coming years”.

So far the oily fish caught this year have been sold fresh to local restaurants, kippered and frozen for bait to support the island’s crab and lobster industry.

Local pot fishermen normally import around 200 tonnes of herring from Scotland each year for bait, which is often caught in Norwegian waters before being transported hundreds of miles to the Isle of Man.

The Manx caught fish will drastically reduce the associated transport emissions, half bait costs and save Manx businesses around £250,000 each year.


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