Consultation to start on Southern scallop fishery

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking public feedback on new proposals to support the long-term sustainability of the Southern scallop fishery which covers the top, and northwest coast, of the South Island.

The proposals include temporary closures of parts of the fishery for the upcoming scallop season, from 15 July to 14 February.

The Ministry’s fisheries management director, Dave Turner, said the latest survey in 2015 shows a continued and significant decline in the fishery, despite reductions in catch limits in the 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 seasons.

“Despite active management of the fishery, scallop numbers are at their lowest recorded levels, and a change in approach is needed.

“These options for closures will have various impacts on different sectors. We’re looking for public feedback to better understand these impacts, so that we can strike the right balance for the fishery.

“It’s important to also note that there is currently no scientific consensus on the exact causes for the decline. Unknown environmental factors may also be having an impact.

“We’ve worked with a group comprising representatives from the recreational and commercial sectors to develop the proposals.

“The proposed closures would rest the beds, allowing mature scallops to spawn uninterrupted and juvenile scallops to grow. This approach has been used successfully in scallop fisheries around the world to stimulate their recovery.”

“MPI is focussed on working with all interested parties to develop a longer term package to help rebuild the fishery.”

Public drop-in seasons will be held as part of the consultation.

A summary of the 3 options under consultation is below:

Option 1: Temporarily close all of area 7H in Tasman Bay, and some or all of the following parts of the Marlborough Sounds to scallop fishing for the 2016-17 season (until 15 February 2017): Wynens Bank, Guards Bank, Ships Cove, Pelorus Sound and Dieffenbach Point.

Option 2: Temporarily close all of the Marlborough Sounds and area 7H in Tasman Bay to scallop fishing for the 2016-17 scallop season.

Option 3: (Status quo) No new scallop fishing closures are implemented for the 2016-17 scallop season.

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