‘Scal­lop war’ erupts be­tween Scot­tish and Isle of Man gov­ern­ments

The Herald - - POLITICS - JODY HAR­RI­SON

SCOT­TISH min­is­ters have set them­selves on a col­li­sion course with the Isle of Man over the right to fish for scal­lops in the North Ir­ish Sea.

Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing has said that new rules be­ing brought in by of­fi­cials on the Isle of Man, which re­quire fish­ing boats to reg­is­ter their catch once a day, breach na­tional agree­ments and will have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on fish­er­men’s liveli­hoods. He has threat­ened to call in ex­ter­nal ar­bi­tra­tors to me­di­ate the dis­pute af­ter ac­cus­ing his coun­ter­part on the Isle of Man of not lis­ten­ing to Scot­tish con­cerns.

How­ever, Isle of Man Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Agri­cul­ture, Ge­of­frey Boot has said that his ad­min­is­tra­tion in­tends to press ahead with the con­tro­ver­sial mea­sures on Mon­day.

Scot­tish fish­er­men have warned that the is­sue has “disas­ter writ­ten all over it” as it will re­quire boats mak­ing daily de­tours, some­times through rough seas, to reach ports where their catch can be ver­i­fied.

Un­der the rules, ves­sels which take scal­lops from both in­side and out­side Manx wa­ters will have to travel to the is­land each day.

Those who dredge ex­clu­sively in the sea around the is­land can go to their home port.

Mr Ewing said the pro­pos­als will re­strict the ac­tiv­ity of the Scot­tish scal­lop in­dus­try, which is worth around £3 mil­lion per year. Mr Ewing said: “We have put for­ward a num­ber of al­ter­na­tive mea­sures that would en­sure sus­tain­able fish­ing, and be more tar­geted, pro­por­tion­ate and, im­por­tantly, not dis­ad­van­tage any one sec­tor of ves­sels.

“I am deeply dis­ap­pointed and frus­trated the Isle of Man Gov­ern­ment has not lis­tened to these al­ter­na­tives or our con­cerns which is why I have been left with no op­tion but to con­sider in­vok­ing the dis­pute res­olu- tion process as set out in the Fish­eries Man­age­ment Agree­ment.”

A spokesman for The Isle of Man Gov­ern­ment said the ad­min­is­tra­tion was also dis­ap­pointed with the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s stance, adding: “The mea­sures, which cover both Bri­tish and Manx ves­sels, are ur­gently re­quired to pre­serve de­clin­ing stocks. Manx of­fi­cials have strong in­di­ca­tions from catch records some boats are tak­ing more fish from Isle of Man wa­ters than they are en­ti­tled to.”

The mea­sures are ur­gently re­quired to pre­serve de­clin­ing stocks

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