Good news for scallop lovers
10 September 2007
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today confirmed an increase in the number of scallops that can be taken from the Coromandel fishery this season. “It’s estimated that the fishery could yield 338 tonnes, meaning the stock is in very good health.”
The upshot is the daily recreational bag limit stays the same - at 20 scallops per person, while the allowance for the total recreational catch across the board increases.
There has been an increase for Maori customary and recreational fishing from 7.5 to 10 tonnes meat weight and the annual catch entitlement (ACE) for quota owners has been increased from 22 to 108 tonnes meat weight.
“I’m aware that recreational fishers have expressed some concern about the increase in the entitlement for commercial quota owners but, given the abundance of scallops in many areas of the fishery, I believe that is still a cautious harvest level,” Jim Anderton said.
Other sources of fishing-related mortality have been increased from 11 to 37 tonnes meat weight. This takes into account scallops damaged but not caught as part of the fishing process.
“There were variations in the availability of information across different parts of the fishery but I think the entitlement decisions for this season reflect the best possible outcomes for all parties and for the long-term sustainability of the fishery.”
The increase to the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Coromandel scallop fishery takes it from 48 tonnes to 165 tonnes meat weight for this season.
“These decisions have been made following close scrutiny of the best available scientific information and after discussions with Maori, recreational and commercial fishers,” Jim Anderton said.
The increases came into effect on 24 August and will remain in place until the end of the Coromandel scallop season on 31st March 2008. They will then revert back to the baseline allowances.
The baseline allowances are 7.5 tonnes each for recreational and customary fishers and 22 tonnes for quota owners, and 11 tonnes for fishing-related mortality.
The management of the fishery is designed to deal with large natural fluctuations that are typical of scallop stocks. Low TACs and allowances are set to ensure sustainability, then in-season surveys are used to find out how many scallops can be taken in a given season. This allows the TAC and allowances to be adjusted accordingly.