Spent most of the day preparing for and having a meeting with the Northern Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Michelle McIlveen MLA. It was a useful meeting as per press release below. Sadly the NI Assembly has dissolved and there will be a general election in March which will result in a Cabinet reshuffle and in all probability a new Minister. However, we have made some good contacts and progress with the Officers.

Fisheries Ministers discuss economically important industry

The Island’s Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture met his Northern Ireland counterpart for the first time today to discuss matters of mutual interest relating to fisheries.

Discussions between Geoffrey Boot MHK and Michelle McIlveen MLA, Northern Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, centred around Irish Sea fisheries management and the scientific developments that are enhancing understanding of stocks. Areas in which the jurisdictions could potentially collaborate were also on the agenda.

Minister Boot discussed with Minister McIlveen his Department’s Future Fisheries strategy 2016-2021, which sets out a vision for sustainable and diversified fisheries supported by a high quality marine environment.

Minister Boot said: ‘Fisheries is a traditional and economically important industry for both the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland and we have a common interest in managing and better understanding fish stocks to ensure sustainability.

‘Today’s meeting helped us further develop a mutual understanding of the issues surrounding fishing in the Irish Sea and I hope to continue a positive relationship with Minister McIlveen.’

Minister McIlveen said: It is important to develop strong relationships with our neighbours and to work towards introducing sustainable fisheries policies that are of benefit to all.

‘King and queen scallops remain an important component of the Northern Ireland catch and this is an area where I hope we can cooperate to ensure sustainability. We are keen to learn from the Isle of Man initiatives on scallop broodstock areas with a view to establishing similar initiatives locally.’

During her brief visit to the Island, Minister McIlveen was also shown around Tynwald by Minister Boot.

Ministers Boot and McIlveen (2)