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Temporary Closure of the Southern Scallop (SCA 7) Fishery

Update – 29 June 2017

Minister's decisions

Following consultation, the Minister for Primary Industries has decided to close the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA 7) and Port Underwood for the 2017 to 2018 scallop season to both recreational and commercial fishing due to sustainability concerns.

Taking into account the best available scientific information and the information and views provided during consultation, the Minister considers closures to SCA 7 and Port Underwood necessary for the 2017 to 2018 scallop season. The closures will protect remaining scallop beds from disturbance and mortality due to fishing.

Find out more:

What we're proposing

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking feedback and submissions on whether:

  • a further temporary closure of the Southern Scallop fishery (SCA 7) should be implemented for the coming scallop season, which starts on 15 July 2017
  • the small Port Underwood recreational fishery, which is immediately adjacent to (but not part of) SCA 7, should also be closed to protect it from increased harvest pressure.

The closures would be in place for the coming season (15 July 2017 until 14 February 2018 – dates inclusive).

You will not be able to take any scallops during the period of the temporary closure. However, MPI considers this would be balanced by improved fishery productivity in the future.

Low stock levels behind the proposals

A survey in January 2017 shows the biomass of scallops across SCA 7 has decreased since the previous survey in November 2015. The stock remains at its lowest recorded level, despite parts of SCA 7 the fishery being closed last season.

There has been no recovery in Golden and Tasman Bays. Some scallop beds in the Marlborough Sounds have responded to last season’s closure with a small increase in scallop numbers. However, the Marlborough Sounds as a whole remains close to the lowest recorded biomass level and contains the only remaining dense beds of scallops in SCA 7 that are considered critical for the reproductive success of the fishery.

January 2017 survey results [PDF, 5.1 MB]

Have your say

MPI seeks your views on whether a further closure would help safeguard remaining scallops and give the beds an opportunity to rest and contribute to the spawning potential of the fishery without disturbance from fishing. It would reduce utilisation in the short term, but this would be balanced by improved fishery productivity in the future.

MPI developed the consultation discussion document with input from tangata whenua and commercial and recreational fishing representatives. During the proposed temporary closure, we'll be working with these sectors to identify the causes for the decline and on long-term management measures for the fishery.

Consultation document

Making your submission

Email your feedback on the consultation document by 5pm on 31 May 2017 to

For your convenience, you can download a submission form.  You are not required to use these forms.

Make sure you include in your submission:

  • the title of the consultation document in the subject line of your email
  • your name and title (if applicable)
  • your organisation's name (if applicable)
  • your address.

While we prefer email, you can send your submission by post to:

Fisheries Management
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless we have a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include, it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.