Wellington scallop season opens today
15 July 2009
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley is calling on Wellington scallop fishers to follow the rules when they go fishing.
The open season for recreational fishers to gather scallops in Wellington Harbour starts today.
“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 Wellington is 100mm measured across the widest part of the shell.
The legal bag limit for scallops is 20 per fisher per day. In addition, divers are entitled to take 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.
“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 removes the mothers and babies before they have had a chance to spawn.
“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 years.”
Fishery officers and honorary fishery officers will be out patrolling the harbour 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 the 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 alternative,” 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 scallop season will close on 14 February 2010. The closure allows scallops to spawn without being disturbed.