What is the status of the fishery?
Since 2017, the Southern Scallop (SCA 7) fishery has been closed to scallop fishing. Scallops cannot be taken from:
- Marlborough Sounds
- Golden Bay
- Tasman Bay
- Port Underwood.
The decision followed:
- smaller closures earlier in 2017 and 2016
- research showing that scallop numbers had dropped.
According to the most recent scallop survey (in May 2020), scallop numbers are still too low to support sustainable fishing.
Survey of scallops in SCA 7 (May 2020) [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Strategy for increasing scallop numbers
Since the fishery closure, a strategy has been developed to ensure we are doing all we can to help scallop numbers rebuild to healthy levels. It includes objectives to improve the management of the Marlborough Sounds scallop fishery, and the ecosystem that supports it. It aims to guide the rebuilding of southern scallop numbers to healthy levels as soon as possible. This will provide a sustainable fisheries resource for generations to come.
Southern scallop strategy: Marlborough Sounds [PDF, 5.4 MB]
The strategy was created by the Southern Scallop Working Group (SSWG), and formally approved by the Minister of Fisheries in 2020. The strategy was released after public consultation.
Find out more about the strategy and its implementation
We have a web page where you can find more information on the strategy and its implementation. This includes a related implementation plan recently formed by the SSWG, as well as other related documents and updates.
What about the rest of SCA 7 (Golden Bay and Tasman Bay)?
While the Marlborough Sounds strategy is rolled out, the SSWG will consider how to manage and restore the Golden Bay and Tasman Bay scallop numbers. This will also include Croisilles Harbour.
History of the Southern Scallop Fishery
SCA 7 catch has fluctuated a lot since commercial fishing began in the 1950s. The past 10 years have seen a significant and continuous decline.
(To enlarge this graphic image, click or tap on it).
The infographic has a graph with the heading "History of the commercial Southern Scallop fishery". A map shows where the fishery is located at the top of the South Island. The graph shows the reported landings of scallops in the Southern Scallop fishery from 1950 to 2020. From the 1950s to the late 1970s there was a period of "regulatory open access" in the fishery, and scallop landings reached an all-time peak in 1975 at 1,244 tonnes of meatweight. Following this peak, there was a sharp decline in landings, and between 1981 and 1982 the fishery was closed due to low biomass. In 1983, the fishery reopened with limited licensing, and landings began to steadily increase again in the years following. In 1992, the fishery was introduced to the Quota Management System (QMS). Total landings of the fishery fluctuated between 200 and 800 tonnes meatweight until 2002, when both Golden Bay and Tasman Bay fisheries saw a large decline. Following this, commercial scallop harvesting was mostly carried out in the Marlborough Sounds. Landings continued to decline until the fishery was closed in 2016.
Public feedback about the closure
We ran a public consultation in 2018 to get submissions on the closure.
The Southern Scallop Working Group (SSWG)
The Southern Scallop Working Group (SSWG) brings together iwi, commercial and recreational sectors of the fishery, and scientists and fisheries managers. It provides a platform for input into the future management of the fishery.
The members of the SSWG bring a variety of relevant experience and skills to the group.
SSWG members list [PDF, 58 KB]
Who to contact
If you have any questions, email email@example.com
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