Fisheries New Zealand invites people to have their say on a draft strategy for the long-term sustainability of the Marlborough Sounds scallop fishery.
The strategy was drafted by the Southern Scallop Working Group (SSWG), comprising iwi, commercial and recreational sectors of the fishery, scientists and fisheries managers.
Following a decline in scallop numbers, closures have been in place in the Southern Scallop fishery (SCA 7), which includes the Marlborough Sounds and Port Underwood, since 2016. The SCA 7 fishery remains closed until further notice.
The draft strategy guides a future management approach to the Marlborough Sounds fishery, to ensure it can rebuild to healthy levels and that any future fishing in the area is sustainable.
Manager of inshore fisheries Steve Halley says it’s important that anyone with an interest in the fishery has a say.
“We know there is a keen public interest in this fishery, and we want to know whether the community thinks the strategy is addressing the right issues or if there are other issues to be considered.”
The working group has identified six key objectives for the Marlborough Sounds scallop fishery, which include:
- improving scallop habitat quality and quantity in the Marlborough Sounds
- minimising the fishing impacts on scallop habitat and populations by limiting the fishing methods that can be used in some parts of the Marlborough Sounds
- getting better catch information.
“Feedback will be incorporated into the final version of the strategy. The SSWG will be seeking the Minister of Fisheries’ endorsement of the strategy later this year,” says Mr Halley.
“Any recommendations to change the rules and regulations for the fishery resulting from the strategy will be publicly consulted on and all those with an interest in the fishery will have full opportunity to have their say.”