This report summarises the responses to the Consultation on New Controls in the Queen Scallop Fishery in ICES Divisions VIa and VIIa. Stakeholders' views on each of the management proposals in the consultation are examined, with common trends and issues highlighted as appropriate.
The UK queen scallop fishery is worth approximately £6 million per year, helping to sustain jobs in many coastal communities where other forms of employment may not be readily available.
There have been concerns in recent years for the health of the queen scallop stock, with the Isle of Man fishery having its Marine Stewardship Council ( MSC) sustainability certification suspended in 2014 in response to stock assessments that showed reduced biomass. Concerns have also been raised regarding the level of fishing activity (effort) in the wider fishery.
As a result of correspondence from queen scallop fishermen and processors, a working group was formed consisting of fishermen, processors, scientists, and the UK Fisheries Administrations. The working group's aim has been to assess the current status of the fishery and, if appropriate, develop management measures and reduce long term risk.
Following significant discussion, the working group agreed to consult on new management measures for the queen scallop fishery in ICES Divisions VIa (north coast of Northern Ireland and western Scotland) and VIIa (Irish Sea).
The consultation sought views on two sets of proposals. The first of these were management measures that the working group considered should be introduced in the short term to help ensure the sustainability of the stock:
- Increasing the minimum conservation reference size ( MCRS)
- Introducing an annual closed season
- Introducing limits on the number of vessels able to prosecute the fishery, specifically via entry restrictions.
The second set of proposals consulted on were longer term management options. These were measures that had either not been supported by the working group for introduction in the short term, or would require the development of more specific proposals:
- Effort reduction measures (restricting time that vessels can fish)
- Catch quotas
- Closed areas
- Gear-specific management
It was not intended for these additional measures to be introduced as a direct result of the consultation, but it was felt that stakeholders' views would help to inform future considerations for the fishery.
The consultation was launched on 11 October 2016 and ran for a 12-week period, closing to responses on 3 January 2017. There were 35 respondents, consisting of 18 private individuals (51%) and 17 organisations (49%).
Respondents break down by type as follows:
Most respondents had a relevant interest in the queen scallop fishery. The majority of private individuals were fishermen, or had a scientific or conservation / environmental background; while organisations were mainly a mix of fishing associations, producer organisations (' POs'), fish processors, and conservation / environmental groups.
A copy of the consultation document, along with published responses, is available at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/marine-scotland/queen-scallop-consultation/.
Email: Marine Scotland, Inshore Fisheries, mailto:email@example.com
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House