The queen scallop net fishery in Manx waters will shut at 6pm on Thursday.
The government has taken the decision on the advice of the Isle of Man Queen Scallop Management Board.
At the start of this year’s season in June, an advisory total allowable catch (TAC) of 4,000 tonnes of queen scallops was agreed by the management board, based on independent scientific evidence provided by Bangor University.
The TAC has now been achieved, and acting on the advice of the management board, the Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne MHK has closed the fishery to conserve remaining stocks, in preparation for next year’s fishing season.
The Department Environment, Food and Agriculture says reports from fishermen and processors reveal good catches this year.
An increase in the minimum size of queenies which could be landed has helped to provide a high quality product which has sold well to markets in the EU, it says.
These sales support employment in the Isle of Man as well as generating export earnings estimated at £3 million.
The Sea Fishing (Prohibition of Queen Scallop fishing) Regulations 2013 which close the trawl fishery will also control queenie fishing with dredges in a small area to the south of Port St Mary. This fishery will be closed by the department as soon as its agreed TAC of 1000 tonnes has been reached.
Mr Gawne said: ‘The measures taken to protect the queenie fishery this year have prevented the early closure experienced last year, benefiting all concerned.
‘The department has worked hard with the industry to achieve a sustainable queenie fishery in the Manx territorial sea, using trawl nets, and this was formally recognised in 2011 with Marine Stewardship Council accreditation. The reduction in the area of the territorial sea where dredge gear can be used to fish for queenies also contributes to our aims of achieving a profitable but sustainable fishery.’
The Isle of Man Queenie Management Board was set up in 2010 to advise the government on the management of the fishery. Its members include processors and fishermen from around the Irish Sea plus representatives from DEFA. It has access to independent scientific advice from Bangor University.