Surveying Northland scallops
11 May 2006
The annual scallop survey to assess the state of the main scallop beds in Northland will be conducted in mid May. The survey provides information to help the Minister of Fisheries set the annual catch limits for the scallop fishery.
The areas to be surveyed are: Spirits Bay, Tom Bowling Bay, Rangaunu Bay, Bream Bay, Mangawhai, and Pakiri.
Recent research surveys have shown that the abundance of scallops has improved considerably since 1999-2000 when the fishery was affected by “black gill disease”. Scallop abundance is now at reasonably high levels in Bream Bay, and some of the other scallop areas. Commercial scallop fishers have taken a cautious and responsible approach by requesting relatively modest catch increases as the population rebuilds.
In June this year, research will also be carried out to take a closer look at scallop populations in some of the main recreational scallop beds currently closed to commercial scallop fishing. The dive survey will focus on four key areas: the Bay of Islands, Whangarei Harbour, inside Kawau Island; Mercury Islands (Whitianga).
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) will conduct both surveys for the Ministry of Fisheries.