A botched attempt at seeding scallops in Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds is a reminder why all undersize fish and shellfish people catch must be returned to the sea immediately.
Ministry for Primary Industries was tipped off on Friday (8 Aug) about hundreds of dead undersized scallops in Te Awaiti Bay in Tory Channel.
MPI District Compliance Manager Nelson/Marlborough Ian Bright says the scallops were all under the 90mm minimum size, in about 10 feet of water and were all dead.
“It looks like someone has had a go at seeding scallops in what they believe is an easy place to harvest them.
“They have moved the shellfish a long way from their natural habitat and put them in a place where scallops do not grow, among weed. It wasn’t very well thought out, so they were always going to die, which is a waste of a resource that people really value.
“While this activity was wasteful, it is also illegal. Any undersize fish or shellfish that is caught must be returned to the sea immediately, as close to area where it was caught as possible.
“If MPI compliance officers had caught someone with hundreds of undersized scallops on their boat, for any reason, they would have found themselves in court facing serious fisheries charges.”
The daily recreational bag limit for scallops is 50 per person for the Challenger Fisheries Management Area, which includes the Marlborough Sounds.