isle man herring quotas manx herring fishing industry

Successfully catching their 100 tonne herring quota has lead to optimism about the future for the Manx fishing industry. Photo: DEFA

Isle of Man fishermen have successfully caught the allocated 100-tonne quota of herring in Manx waters within weeks of receiving Government support to diversify.

Three Isle of Man crews took advantage of the financial support provided by the Department of Environment, Food, and Agriculture following new UK quotas earlier this year.

Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food, and Agriculture, expressed her delight, stating, “It’s been a real success story.”

The recent catch has led to great optimism across the industry that a commercially viable Isle of Man fishery could be a reality for the first time in 25 years—especially as the quota could quadruple by 2026.

Isle of Man fishermen had been free to catch herring for centuries before the EU Common Fisheries Policy introduced quotas in the 1980s. However, by the time stocks had recovered, the island had largely been excluded, leading most fishermen to focus their efforts on scallops.

So far, the oily fish caught this year has been sold fresh to local restaurants, kippered, and frozen for bait to support the Isle of Man’s crab and lobster industry.

Isle of Man pot fishermen typically import around 200 tonnes of herring from Scotland each year for bait, often caught in Norwegian waters before being transported hundreds of miles to the Isle of Man. The locally caught fish will drastically reduce transport emissions, halve bait costs, and save Isle of Man businesses around £250,000 each year.

Minister Barber said, “Isle of Man fishermen have demonstrated that they are capable of using this quota and have therefore secured long-term allocations. The lack of certainty meant on and off-island markets for Isle of Man herring products were not able to be established for this year’s catch, but now we are looking at a future full of opportunities for fishermen, producers, and those who want to enjoy this delicious and sustainable catch.”

“A functioning Isle of Man herring fishery will also reduce pressure on other stocks, such as scallops, in the coming years,” she added.

David Beard, Chief Executive of the Manx Fish Producers Organisation, shared his excitement, stating, “We have clearly shown that with the technology we’ve got, we can catch the herring. We can now look at developing new markets, and it is a very exciting time. This journey has seen excellent coordination between the Isle of Man Government, MFPO fishermen, and local seafood processors. It has been brilliant.”


Source: Press Release

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