Fishing for scallops on the Dogger Bank was initially closed from 12th July and the closure has now been extended to 11th October.
The initial closure was to enable scientific analysis of the state of the shellfish stock so that management decisions could be made in consultation with industry.
A survey and analysis by Cefas demonstrated that scallops in the closed areas are currently either spawning or about to spawn. Evidence from other areas suggests the spawning will continue until late autumn. This has prompted the decision to extend the Dogger Bank closure to protect the stock during spawning and allow time for a further survey to be done that will increase understanding of the state of the shellfish stock.
The closure covers ICES rectangles 37F1, 37F2, 37F3, 38F1, 38F2, 38F3, 39F1 and 39F2 in the Dogger Bank.
Three organisations responded to the Fisheries Administrations’ second call for evidence, including the Scallop Industry Consultation Group (SICG). All three agreed the closure should be extended beyond 29th August.
‘When the King Scallop fishery emerged on the Dogger Bank this summer, the Scallop Industry Consultation Group (SICG) members called for the initial closure to allow stock assessment surveys and data collection to be conducted by CEFAS,’ said Jim Portus, Chair of the SICG and South West Fish Producers Organisation.
‘Using this data to help decision-making processes, the vital and valuable King Scallop resource can be well-managed and harvested sustainably in the future. Consultation has been an important part of decision-making and the SICG welcomes the extended closure to October 11th, and actually has now called to keep the fishery closed until March 2021.’