SCOTTISH Ministers have set themselves on a collision course with another devolved UK government over the right to fish for scallops in the North Irish Sea.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has said that new rules being brought in by officials on the Isle of Man which require fishing boats to register their catch once a day breach national agreements and will have a detrimental effect on fishermen’s livelihoods.

He has threatened to call in external arbitrators to mediate the dispute after accusing his counterpart on the Isle of Man of not listening to Scottish Concerns.

However, Isle of Man Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot has said that his administration intend to press ahead with the controversial measures on Monday.

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Scottish fishermen have warned that the issue has "disaster written all over it" as it will require boats making daily detours, sometimes through rough seas, to reach ports where their catch can be verified.

Under the rules vessels which take scallops from both inside and outside Manx waters will have to travel to the island each day. Those who dredge exclusively in the sea around the island can go to their home port.

Mr Ewing said that the proposals will restrict the activity of the Scottish seafood industry which is worth around £3 million per year

Mr Ewing said:“We have put forward a number of alternative measures that would ensure sustainable fishing, and be more targeted, proportionate and, importantly, not disadvantage any one sector of vessels.

“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated that the Isle of Man Government has not listened to these alternatives or our concerns which is why I have been left with no option but to consider invoking the dispute resolution process as set out in the Fisheries Management Agreement."


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A spokesman for The Isle of Man Government said the administration was also disappointed with the Scottish Government’s stance, adding: "The measures, due to take effect on Monday 15 January 2018 – which cover both British and Manx vessels – are urgently required to preserve declining stocks.

"Manx officials have strong indications from catch records that some boats are taking more fish from Isle of Man waters than they are entitled to."