Fisheries New Zealand has announced today that The Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and Port Underwood will continue to be closed to scallop fishing for the 2018/19 season, from 15 July 2018.
Director of fisheries management Stuart Anderson says recent surveys have shown scallop numbers in the area are starting to increase, but still remain low, 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," Mr Anderson says.
"We are very thankful for the support and input from the community and key stakeholders while the fishery has been closed.
"The ongoing closure has come with significant implications to those with an interest in, and a dependency on the fishery, so we appreciate the commitment shown to make this fishery sustainable.
"The majority of submissions received during the consultation process agreed with a further period of closure.
"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.
"This is an important resource that has been under considerable pressure from a range of factors including fishing. We intend to take a cautious and inclusive approach to future management.
"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," says Mr Anderson.
You risk a fine of up to $100,000 and having your gear forfeited for gathering scallops in the closed area.