The number of king scallops currently in seas around the Isle of Man is the third highest since surveys began in the 1990s.

The news comes as the Isle of Man’s king scallop fishery was rated among the most sustainably managed in the British Isles.

The Manx fishery's improved rating was confirmed by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and appears in the charity’s annual Good Fish Guide.

The guide includes around 600 reviews that help consumers make informed decisions about the seafood they eat.

According to the government, the upgraded rating follows improvements made to the fishery and its management in the last two years.

Changes included greater controls on the number of vessels involved in fishing, changes to the type of fishing gear permitted and the introduction of closed and restricted areas to protect scallops and sensitive habitats around the island. 

Clare Barber, minister for environment, food and agriculture, said: ‘This influential guide has been running for a number of years and this excellent news reflects some bold and innovative decisions taken by the Scallop Management Board in partnership with DEFA.

'The ratings should give consumers confidence that they are supporting a sustainable product and that our fishery Island’s resources are well managed.’

This year’s king scallop survey was conducted by Bangor University in conjunction with the the Manx Fish Producers Organisation.

According to the survey, the number of juvenile scallops in waters around the island indicates a 'positive outlook' for scallop stocks in the future.

A spokesperson for MCS said: ‘The increased rating indicates that the Isle of Man's management approach demonstrates some very good practices, and it is clearly extensively researched, monitored and reported on.’

The government says improvements to the island’s king scallop fishery rating follows similar results for the Isle of Man’s queen scallop fishery, which is considered to be the most sustainably managed, wild-capture queenie fishery, in the British Isles.