Don’t take more than your legal limit this scallop season
13 July 2012
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is calling on scallop fishers to follow the rules when they go fishing in the Challenger Fishery Management Area this season.
The recreational season for gathering scallops in this area begins on Sunday 15 July 2012.
The Challenger Fishery Management Area stretches from Awarua Point (south of Haast) on the West Coast of the South Island to Clarence River on the East Coast including Golden Bay, Tasman Bay, and the Marlborough Sounds.
MPI Nelson/Marlborough District Compliance Manager Ian Bright says that observing your limit is crucial to preserving scallop stocks.
“Fishers need to make sure they know the bag and size limits before they go scalloping. It is also important to observe the seasons as these tell you when you can begin scalloping and when you must stop,” says Mr Bright.
The minimum legal size of scallops in the Challenger area is 90 millimetres measured across the widest part of the shell. It is important for each fisher to count and measure their scallops.
“Taking undersized scallops removes the juveniles before they have a chance to spawn.”
The legal bag limit for scallops is fifty per fisher per day. In addition, divers are entitled to take an amount equivalent to an extra daily bag for each of up to two safety people on board a boat — provided they are acting as safety people for the divers.
“The safety person should be someone who is able to actively assist the diver from the water, and call for help.
“Only those actively involved in fishing are entitled to a daily bag limit. For scallop dredgers, this means those who are actively involved in deploying and or hauling the dredge.”
There is no allowance for people to land freshly shucked or frozen shucked scallops from a vessel, as fishery officers are unable to count or measure them accurately. The law allows scallops to be eaten onboard the vessel but daily limits still apply. Any scallops not eaten must be landed in the shell.
“When you are transporting your scallops on the water they must always be in their shells. This includes scallops transported by boat from a bach or holiday home.
“People who intend to accumulate their daily catches in the shell over a period of days must be aware that they will need to provide proof to fishery officers of where and when the catches were taken; so that they can satisfy fishery officers that daily limits have not been breached.”
Fishery officers will be patrolling the Challenger Area and inspecting scallop catches. Infringement fines of $250 to $500 per offence can be imposed on fishers who break the rules. Serious breaches can result in prosecution, along with confiscation of dive gear, boats, and vehicles.
“Fishery officers are entrusted with protecting our fish stocks for future generations. The public also have a responsibility; if you ignore the fishing rules and take more than your legal limit or take undersized scallops you will be penalised.”
The scallop season in the Challenger Area closes on 14 February 2013. The closure allows scallops to spawn without being disturbed.
If you see people taking more than their fair share, you should report them by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).
See further information about recreational fishing limits
For media inquiries please call:
Sara Stavropoulos, Senior Communications Adviser
Telephone: 04-894 3411 or 021 224 5369
or call the MPI Media phone 029 894 0328