Scallop fishing. (Photo: KSD)
Scallop capture ban kept to protect the resource
Thursday, July 12, 2018, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
Scallop fishing will remain banned for the 2018/19 season, starting on July 15 this year in the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and Port Underwood, informed the Fisheries Ministry.
The Director of fisheries management Stuart Anderson explained the ban continues because recent surveys have shown scallop numbers remain low in the area and the beds cannot sustain harvesting.
"This ongoing closure provides an opportunity for the scallop beds to recover to allow a sustainable fishery in the future," Anderson pointed out.
The Fisheries director showed appreciation towards the commitment revealed by those with an interest in, and a dependency on the fishery to make it sustainable.
He pointed out that the majority of submissions received during the consultation process agreed with a further period of closure and that submitters also agreed that when the fisheries re-open, significant changes will be needed to the fisheries management settings.
"Fisheries New Zealand is establishing a multisector group to work on an agreed view of when the number of scallops has increased sufficiently to allow harvesting and the rules that will be necessary to ensure that any harvest is sustainable,” he stressed.
The results of new scientific research into the fishery will be available later in the year, and this information will be used to guide future management of the scallop fishery.
"Any proposed changes to fisheries management settings for the scallop fishery will be widely consulted on before any decisions are made," Anderson claimed.
The ministry is to impose a fine of up to NZD 100,000 (USD 6,840) and to forfeit gear for gathering scallops in the closed area.