Auckland Scallop Season Opens on 1 September
28 August 2009
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley is calling on scallop fishers to follow the rules when they go fishing in Auckland.
The recreational season for gathering scallops in the Auckland and Kermadec Fishery Management Area, which includes Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, starts on 1 September. The exception is the Kaipara Harbour, where a temporary closure to scallop gathering is in place until 28 November.
“Fishers need to make sure they know the bag limits, size limits and seasons before they go fishing,” Mr Heatley said.
The minimum legal size for scallops in the Auckland and Kermadec area is 100 millimetres measured across the widest part of the shell.
The legal bag limit for scallops is 20 per fisher per day. In addition, divers may take an extra bag for each of up to two people on board a boat, provided they are acting as safety people for the divers.
When dredging for scallops, only those actively involved in fishing are entitled to a daily bag limit.
“Stick to the minimum size limits; they are carefully set to make sure there will be enough scallops left for the future,” Mr Heatley said. “Taking undersized scallops could affect the fishery by reducing the amount of spawning and small scallops contributing to the fishery in future.
“Only take what you need; fish for a feed and not to fill the freezer. The bag limits are set to make sure there will be scallops around to catch in future seasons.”
Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers will be patrolling and inspecting scallop catches. Fines of $250 to $500 per offence can be imposed on fishers who ignore the rules. Serious breaches can result in confiscation of diving gear, boats and vehicles.
“Fishery Officers have the job of protecting our fish stocks for future generations; they don’t want to write tickets, but if you ignore the rules you leave them no choice,” Mr Heatley said.
“If you see people taking more than their fair share, you should report them to Fishery Officers by calling 0800 4 POACHER. They are stealing from you and from future generations.”
The most recent public health information for Hauraki Gulf beaches is that while the Auckland Regional Public Health Service advises people against collecting shellfish from Auckland beaches, it does not regard scallop gathering as a high-risk activity. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority says it has no concerns with recreationally or commercially caught seafood in the Gulf. For the latest public health information, see www.arphs.govt.nz/Media_Releases/media_releases.asp
The scallop season closes on 31 March next year.