Bangor University welcomes latest Sustainable Fisheries Accreditation

Work aboard the University's Research Vessel Prince MadogWork aboard the University's Research Vessel Prince MadogBangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences has welcomed the news that the fishery producing Manx Queenies, the Isle of Man’s queen scallops, has been awarded a sustainability certification under the Marine Stewardship Council programme. 

Experts in sustainable fisheries at the School have worked with the Isle of Man (IOM) Government’s Department of Environment Food and Agriculture since 2006, to advise them how to manage the fishery sustainably. They have also worked closely with the fishing industry to avoid previous periods of ‘boom and bust’.

Prof Mike KaiserProf Mike KaiserProfessor Mike Kaiser who led this research explained: “Our science addressed the key questions about the sustainability of the fishery. This required an intensive effort to gather data about scallop stocks, seabed habitats and the bycatch associated with the fishing gear. However none of this would have mattered without fishermen’s cooperation. Providing workable policies for sustainable fisheries relies on far more than evidence about the marine life- we need to take human behaviour into account as well. We are just as important an element in the equation.”

He adds: “Achieving MSC Sustainable Fisheries accreditation is a further boost for the now lucrative Queenie fishery industry. The MSC logo will add to their success, enabling consumers to buy their product with confidence and a clear conscience that they are purchasing fish from a sustainable source.”

“Achieving this accreditation provides a valuable model for other fisheries, showing what can be achieved through open dialogue and cooperation- as opposed to enforcement.”

Queenie scallops lying on the seabedQueenie scallops lying on the seabedScallops caught by Isle of Man registered day boats are prized by chefs and celebrated annually in the Isle of Man in the three-day Queenie Festival. Once in decline, the now sustainably fished ‘queenie’ fishery is providing a high value product sought after by best restaurants around the UK.

 

IOM Government has worked alongside fisherman for the past ten years, gradually introducing conservation measures to balance the commercial and environmental needs. For the past 4 years, Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences have provided advice and also assisted with background research and evidence and have a permanent member of staff (Dr Lee Murray) based on the island.

 

Research by the School showed that:

* new fishing methods had much lower impacts on seabed habitats compared with other scallop fisheries.
* the fishery has no significant by-catch of other species. 
*Satellite monitoring of all fishing boat activities has also provided the marine scientists with valuable information about relative effort, profitability, seabed impact, fishermen’s behaviour and much more.

Publication date: 19 May 2011