SCOTTISH scallop fishermen have been granted a reprieve after the Isle of Man government backed down on its controversial proposal to have trawlers make a daily trip to a Manx ports to have their catch verified.

Skippers who ply the Manx waters and coastal authorities had warned that the measure would be hugely costly and discriminated against vessels from Scotland.

Manx fishing chiefs made the made at the turn of the year amid concerns that some boats were cheating the system and misreporting their catch.

There are fears that the scallop beds around the island are becoming depleted because of overfishing, and may become exhausted.

However, the requirement for trawlers to call at the island each day has now been lifted, and instead anyone caught misreporting their catch will face being banned from Manx Waters.

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The decision to lift restrictions came after high-level talks between the Isle of Man and Scottish Government which included an intervention from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Scottish boats have been fishing in Manx waters for 30 years, and the industry is said to be worth £3million to the economy.

Dumfries and Galloway Council was among those who claimed vessels reporting to ports would "cost a lot in fuel, compromise the freshness of the catch" and also put about 300 jobs at risk.

Eighty nine vessels are licensed to fish for king scallops in Manx waters this season, which runs from 1st November 2017 to 31st May 2018.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, the Manx Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘Manx waters form the heart of the king scallop fishing industry and fleets around the Irish Sea rely on them for a living.

"The Isle of Man Government has the support of UK fisheries partners in taking steps to ensure stocks are sustainable.

"We hope owners and skippers will take their obligation to accurately record their catch more seriously if they know cheating won’t be tolerated and they could lose access to Manx waters.

"The measure will not impact on the vast majority of law-abiding owners and crews who understand and co-operate with regulations."

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HeraldScotland: The Isle of Man

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Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said welcomed the climb down, saying Scottish trawlers had always fished the disputed waters sustainable.

He added: “These revisions will be a relief to many of our coastal communities who were detrimentally affected by the changes, and will help protect the industry which is worth around £3 million a year in Scotland.

“While it has been a long and fraught process I thank the Isle of Man Government for taking the needs of our fishermen into consideration and agreeing to an approach that will make it possible for our crews to carry out legitimate fishing activities and help to tackle misreporting.”