Isle of Man queen scallop stocks 'declining'

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The Isle of Man government is planning further fishing restrictions after new figures showed a sharp decline in local queen scallop stocks.

Research by scientists at Bangor University showed the volume of shell fish in Manx waters has fallen by about 15,000 tonnes since 2010.

The Manx government said the statistics have prompted a review in to new measures to prevent overfishing.

Fisheries minister Phil Gawne said the Irish Sea must be properly managed.

'Monitoring catch'

He added: "A 'boom and bust' approach is not in the interests of anyone and I remain totally committed to achieving a properly managed queenie fishery across the Irish Sea."

The measures being put in place include limiting and monitoring the amount of catch along with the closure of Manx waters to all dredging - except a small area off Port St Mary.

The queen scallop (aequipecten opercularis) is a bivalve mollusc which can grow up to 3in (9cm) in diameter and is found at depths of 328ft (100m).

The university research shows that between 2001 and 2006, the amount found in Manx territorial waters was estimated to be about 13,000 tonnes.

By 2010 this biomass had risen to 35,000 tonnes but then declined by over 16,000 tonnes by 2012 - it is now estimated to be about 20,000 tonnes.

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