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Isle of Man takes protection measures for fishing grounds

In support of the announcement described in the Isle of Man Government's press release, Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, Biodiversity Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) states:

"The Marine Conservation Society applauds Isle of Man scallop fishermen, and their representatives, for setting up new marine protected areas to the north of the island. These areas will benefit local fishermen, helping to secure livelihoods and the regeneration of seabed wildlife.

"The Isle of Man was the first location in the British Isles where a zone was set up to scientifically study the effect of a closure on scallop fishing. This came at the end of the 1980s, at a time when scallop catches were down and fishermen and local scientists agreed that an experimental protection area could provide answers. In that small closed area, scallop numbers eventually reached 20 times the number found in a control site, and catches increased around the edge of the closed area. As a result, fishermen have come to support these measures, and there are now five experimental sites dotted around isle of Man waters.

"Other areas around the world which have been set aside as Marine Protected Areas have shown a tremendous response to such measures. On the whole, the weight of marine life recovers over five fold, and the diversity increases by over 100%. Fish, and shellfish, grow large inside these reserves, and go on to breed, and therefore supply surrounding waters with greater catches of fish.

"Our seas are exhausted. But marine reserves and protection have incredible value. We know they work from the extensive science that has proven their positive effect on fish and wildlife. It's up to all stakeholders to ensure that they are introduced now and into the future. We applaud, and thank those fishers on the Isle of Man that have helped deliver this benefit for both wildlife and man.'

"It's a shame that there  is such continued resistance to these sorts of measures from much of the United Kingdom's fishing representatives. It's high time for us to get on and develop these measures in order to encourage the much needed recovery of our seas.  

"MCS has developed a website that allows the public to have a say on where Marine Protected Areas should be established called www.yourseasyourvoice.com. Already over 5,000 people have contributed thoughts on over 1,600 locations they feel should be protected. Please make your voice heard, and add to this growing community."

The attached press release also contains photographs and a map of the area, along with details for local contacts at the Isle of Man Government and the Manx Fish Producers' Organisation.

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