A unique approach to scallop fishing in Ramsey Bay’s Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) will provide Manx diners with a sustainably sourced treat this Christmas.

Ten local vessels have been given permission to fish in an area within the reserve that is kept off-limits for 50 weeks of the year to protect stocks.

This approach balances the needs of people and the environment, which is key principle of the island’s UNESCO Biosphere status and was featured on their global #ProudToShare campaign.

It also guarantees a bumper harvest of the highest quality king scallops in the run up to Christmas, when the value is at its highest.

Catch limits and licenses are handled by the Manx Fish Producers Organisation (MFPO), which encourages crews to share one and reduce emissions.

Dr David Beard, the MFPO’s CEO, said: ‘The collaborative approach is unique in the British Isles and has proven that fishing and flourishing eco-systems can co-exist successfully. It sees the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture work with the industry to give them a direct say in changes and the power to introduce measures that are beneficial to both the industry and the environment’

Nearly 90% of the island’s Biosphere is sea and 10 MNR’s have been created to protect it from damaging activities, and enable species and habitats to recover and flourish

The two week Ramsey Bay fishery is the only time dredging activity is permitted in a MNR.

Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, DEFA Member for Environment, said: ‘Although it is relatively small it embodies big ideas, and is a great example of a well-managed fishery. Success has been achieved by the department working with people who make a living from the sea, so their important industries can benefit from conservation.’

A huge variety of award-winning Manx meat and locally grown vegetables are also available at this time of year, so people can enjoy a Christmas meal with limited food miles. People can also treat themselves or a loved one to a Manx Christmas hamper.

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