Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man catch limit imposed after 'fishing race' concerns

Fishing Boat Image copyright Manxscenes.com
Image caption The scallop fishing industry is worth millions of pounds to the Isle of Man each year

Concerns about a king scallop "fishing race" in the Irish Sea have led the Manx government to introduce quotas.

Starting on Tuesday, a daily 1,400kg (3,086lbs) limit will be in force for the next six weeks in order to tackle current "unsustainable" fishing rates.

An unusually big harvest of king scallops off the island's west coast has recently attracted fishing boats from all over the British Isles.

Manx fishermen said they were unable to compete with such larger vessels.

The Isle of Man's king scallop season runs between November and May.

Image caption In Manx waters 35% of scallop fishing licences are held by the island's fishermen

Fisheries minister Geoffrey Boot added: "In the first six days of the 2016-17 season, almost 800 tonnes of king scallops were landed - almost a quarter of the catch recorded last season. Some vessels were landing in excess of 8,000kg a day.

"The limit will also reduce the risk of damage to juvenile king scallops, protect vulnerable queen scallop stocks and prevent damage to other marine habitats caused by the concentrated effort.

In Manx waters 35% of scallop fishing licences are held by the island's fishermen and the rest are given to vessels from England (13%), Northern Ireland (27%), Scotland (23%) and Wales (2%).

The government said the industry is worth millions of pounds annually to the Manx economy.

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