New safety and security measures have been brought in at Isle of Man harbours in preparation for the king scallop season.

Starting from 1st November, visiting crews to the island will be asked to use separate areas when berthing in Douglas or Peel with a new one in, one out system.

They will only be permitted to use Douglas and Peel meaning Ramsey and Port St Mary harbours will only be available to locally based crews for this season.

Manx crews will receive identification cards to pass through the new security measures.

Visiting crews will be allowed to manage their boat lines, but will not be allowed to leave the boat for any other reason.

They will therefore not be classed as key workers, as they will not be coming ashore.

Security services will be monitoring Peel and Douglas harbours and anyone breaking the rules could face a £10,000 fine, or up to three months in prison.

The king scallop season runs from 1st November 2020 to 31st May 2021.

We are well aware of the pressure the industry is under this year and these measures are designed to help fishermen and processors to do their job safely. We hope it will help to avoid the potential for significant disruption at ports due to added enforcement and logistical issues caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Environment

The Isle of Man has a considerably higher catch rate than other fisheries making it a popular choice for fishing.

79 boats are licensed to fish for the seven-month season, with 48 of them travelling from the UK and 31 from the Isle of Man.

The seafood industry is worth £20m a year to the Manx economy and directly employs around 300 people in full-time or seasonal roles.

All licensed crews have been informed of the changes that follow consultation with the industry and public health.

Source: itv.com