Gawne believes part of queenie fishery will stay

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Environment Minister Phil Gawne says he would be surprised if at least part of the queenie fishery does not remain open this year – in order to protect the Manx industry.

The island’s £5m queenie industry is facing a major blow after scientists recommended fishing be suspended this year to allow stocks to recover.

They estimate queenie stocks are less than half their historic levels and 85 per cent down on the peak level seen in 2011-12.

Their recommendation was discussed last Friday at a meeting of the Queen Scallop Management Board, which advises government on the sustainable management of the queen scallop fishery.

Mr Gawne said that closing the fishery would benefit only the fishermen from Northern Ireland and Scotland as it could decimate the Manx queenie fleet. He said: ‘Our international obligations mean I’m not able to discriminate against visiting vessels.

‘But my main concern has to be for the Manx fishing industry. We will find a way forward that will satisfy the needs of all stakeholders. It will be wrong to prejudge what the board says but I would be surprised if we didn’t have some fishing this year.’

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