Despite reports in some sections of the UK media that the Isle of Man has gone ‘rogue’ over allowing EU vessels to fish in Manx waters, the gov says this is simply not true.

The London Economic said the Isle of Man had ‘moved to jettison itself from the UK’s disastrous fisheries deal by striking new terms with the EU as a British Crown Dependency’. The Daily Express said the island had ‘agreed on a rogue deal, allowing EU fishing boats into Manx waters’. 

While it is true that EU fishermen, with a proven record of fishing in Manx waters for more than 10 days in any of three years before January 2020, will be able to continue to fish here, it was in fact part of the agreement that the British gov negotiated on our behalf.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture said: ‘The Isle of Man has not entered into separate negotiations with the European Union in relation to fisheries. 

‘The arrangements which set out the terms of access for certain EU vessels to parts of the Isle of Man’s territorial waters in the future are set out in Article FISH.10 of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA). The TCA, as it relates to the Isle of Man, was negotiated by UK officials, on behalf of and in consultation with Isle of Man officials, and was concluded on 24 December 2020.’

Under the new rules impacting British fishermen, which were agreed to by the UK when still a member of the European Union, the EU has a wholesale ban on the import of live shellfish that are caught in the secondary category of clean waters known as class B. That includes the shellfish caught in waters off Wales and the south-west of England.

However, Manx scallops are not affected by this ban, as they are processed on the island ahead of shipping to some of the finest restaurants in Europe.

The spokesman added: ‘To be clear, scallops exported from the Isle of Man are not subject to this particular regulation as they do not fall within the category of live bivalve molluscs (scallops caught in Manx waters are processed prior to export and are, therefore, not exported live). 

‘More broadly, the arrangement negotiated by the UK on behalf of the Isle of Man means that all goods exported from the Isle of Man are treated in exactly the same way as goods exported from the UK to the EU. Naturally, having left the EU, these goods are now subject to customs and regulatory checks at the UK/EU border.’

For further detail on how the UK-EU TCA applies to the Isle of Man, please see the Council of Ministers’ ‘explainer’ on the agreement, which was published on 24 December