Consultation on New Controls in the Queen Scallop Fishery in ICES Divisions VIa and VIIa

Seeking views on introducing new management measures in the Queen Scallop fishery in ICES divisions VIa and VIIa.

10. PART 2 - Additional Management Options for Consideration in the Medium to Long Term

The options outlined below were not agreed by the working group for immediate introduction to the queen scallop fishery in divisions VIa and VIIa. However, to inform future fishery management considerations, Fisheries Administrations wish to gather views from stakeholders on the potential use of alternative control methods.

10.1 Proposal 4 - Effort Restrictions

A sustainable fishery is one in which the amount of surplus 'fish' available to catch is matched by the amount of fishing activity, or effort. Where fishing effort is too high, stocks decline accordingly, reducing future fishing opportunity. When this occurs consistently there may be frequent 'boom and bust' fisheries, which is undesirable for the stability of fishing industry income and seafood markets.

There are indications that effort in the queen scallop fishery is too high, and in future this should be capped (see Proposal 3 for the start of this process), and ultimately reduced equitably across the remaining fleet.

There are currently no effort restrictions applicable to the UK queen scallop fleet, except to vessels over 15 m through the western waters effort regime, although these are also considered to be ineffective in relation to the queen scallop fishery. The working group recognised that any effort management regime should apply equitably to all classes of fishing vessel, from under 10 m to over 15 m vessels.

It should also be noted that there is an important interaction between entry restrictions and effort restrictions. For example; with a finite amount of fish to catch, more fishing vessels mean less available for each individual, or a highly competitive fishery, which may have undesirable consequences. Therefore, low entry requirements may result in stricter effort controls, and vice versa. It is important to note that any new effort restrictions would be introduced in addition to entry restrictions

There are a several options for restricting effort in future and we are seeking views on these. Further relevant information on this proposal can be found in the 2015 Isle of Man queen scallop consultation [14] .

Question 13 - Do you agree that effort controls should be introduced in the queen scallop fishery?

a) YES
b) NO

Question 14 - If yes, which of the following is preferred for development as a future effort management option in the queen scallop fishery?

a) Days at Sea scheme.
b) Temporal fishing restriction, e.g. no weekend fishing, no night fishing.

10.2 Proposal 5 - Introduction of Quotas for the Queen Scallop Fishery

A fishing quota limits the amount that may be taken from the fishery, and may be applied to the whole fishery on an annual, or other time period, basis. It may apply to the whole fishery or be divided between the eligible fishermen, as individual quotas.

Quota systems have proven successful in increasing and conserving some stocks, and individual quotas in particular can develop more economic stability and encourage better management and stewardship, since well managed fisheries often result in an increasing quota over time, benefitting individual fisherman. [15],[16]

Determination of an appropriate quota requires stock assessment, however such an assessment has not been conducted over the whole fishery area, and although moves towards this have begun, it will take several years to develop any such assessment. However, in principle, progress towards a quota system can be started, based on current harvest rates, and adjusted over time as more comprehensive information becomes available.

Question 15 - Do you support the principle of developing a long-term quota system for the queen scallop fishery?

a) YES
b) NO

10.3 Proposal 6 - Introduction of Closed Areas for the Queen Scallop Fishery

Closed areas are used in the marine environment for many purposes, ranging from conservation of species and habitats to successfully supporting fisheries production, including scallop fisheries. [17]

In relation to boosting scallop populations they may:

  • Protect high densities of adults for increasing reproduction and recruitment,
  • Protect high densities of a juvenile year-class until they have reached MLS,
  • Protect habitats where juveniles can settle for subsequent fishing once they have grown.

Closed areas may be temporary or permanent, depending on their purpose.

Question 16 - Do you support the principle of developing spatial management options (closed areas) for the queen scallop fishery?

a) YES
b) NO

10.4 Proposal 7 - Introduction of Gear Specific Management in the Queen Scallop Fishery.

As previously indicated there are two methods for catching queen scallops; dredge and otter trawl.

Trawl fishing is based on the principle that queen scallops swim in response to approaching gear. This behaviour is observed at temperatures above 12°C [18] , which means that the trawl fishery is effectively limited to the 6 month period between approximately June and November. By contrast, dredge fishing can capture scallops all year round.

In the Isle of Man territorial sea otter trawl is the predominant fishing method with approximately 85% of landings. There is some trawling in UK waters around the north coast of Northern Ireland, and occasionally off the Scottish west coast, but the bulk of the landings are taken by dredge fishing.

Specific regulations are in place for both fishing types around the Isle of Man, but the introduction of management controls for UK waters could consider the separation of the two sectors at the initial stage and develop equivalent, but gear-specific, arrangements where appropriate.

Question 17 - Do you support the principle of developing equivalent, gear-specific management options for the queen scallop fishery?

a) YES
b) NO


Back to top