Queen scallop fishermen and pressure to 'diversify'
Sunday, September 29th, 2019 - 40 minutes
This week, came what could potentially be some big news for some of the Island's fishing fleet. Specifically, queen scallop fishermen, who are being encouraged to branch out and try to catch some different species. The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is inviting queenie catchers to make grant applications towards diversifying, as part of government's 'future fisheries' vision of what it describes as a "sustainable, thriving and well-managed fishing industry providing high-quality seafood products." Funding is being made available for an eight-week application period, to support diversification into new species, gear types and training. The department says grant applications can be made between 23 September and 18 November 2019, therefore lying between the two main fishing seasons for queen scallops and king scallops. All qualifying vessel owners, which are those licensed to fish locally for queen scallop, were sent an application form. Support of up to 80% towards eligible costs will be available and applications for £1,000 or more will be accepted towards: • New gear to support fishing for new species, such as nets, jiggers and creels. • Training in use of such fishing gear and methods. • Purchase of equipment to expand business opportunities, including into marine tourism. But what do fishermen make of this? We hear from Marshall Thompson, of the 'Two Girls' boat in Peel. Before that, we hear from minister Geoffrey Boot and the Chief Executive of the Manx Fish Producers Organisation, David Beard.