Protecting Local Fish Stocks? I Don’t Think So!


The Isle of Man Minister for the Environment, Food and Agriculture, Richard Ronan MHK has said that protecting local fish stocks is a priority of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

His comments come after a vessel from the North of Ireland was fined in area restricted for scallop fishing (see media report here):

The Manx government and its Ministers can certainly ‘talk the talk’ but with up to sixty vessels operating off the west coast of the Island at present most from outside the Isle of Man (Ireland, Scotland etc) the claim to be ‘protecting fish stocks’ must be questionable to say the least.

The type of seabed dredging being used to recover the scallops must be one of the most destructive types of fishery mangling many other fish species and marine life in the process. If the fishery was allocated to local boats with a strictly limited number of external licences it might be sustainable but one wonders how long this intensity of access can be allowed.

One cannot blame the fishermen over-fishing in many areas and a flawed European Union sea fisheries policy has forced many ‘to the wall’ and some of those that are left in the business are apt to chance their arm at fishing illegally (as with the boat prosecuted this week). Additionally with the money that can be made it is doubtful if the fine etc that Minister Ronan was ‘wittering’ about will be a deterrent.

The industry should be a sustained asset available to local fishermen and aimed at stimulating our onshore processing businesses. It seems however that the Department is happy to get the somewhat limited financial boost from the issue of licences to external vessels.

Meanwhile Ronan can ‘bandwagon’ on the back of the success of the crew of his Departments fishery protection vessel to whom the real credit for apprehending this latest culprit is due!
Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

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