Be aware of closures when scallop season opens on 1 September

Map showing the two areas within Hauraki/Coromandel where scallop fishing is allowed. These areas are near Little Barrier and in the Colville Channel.

The recreational scallop season opens on 1 September and while some popular areas are closed so they can rebuild, there are still areas where gatherers can try catching this seafood delicacy.

“Catch only enough for a feed. That’s our message. If everyone does this, our fisheries will be sustainable for generations to come,” says Emma Taylor, Director Fisheries Management, Fisheries New Zealand.

Map of the South Island’s closed scallop fisheries (in red).

In April, the Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker closed the Northland fishery, and most parts of the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel fishery to both recreational and commercial scallop fishing to allow beds to rebuild. There are two areas around Hauturu/ Little Barrier Island and near the Colville Channel that are still open.

The closure in Coromandel also affects parts of the Western Bay of Plenty.

Mōtītī Island is closed to scallop fishing and there are restrictions in place that stretch as far as Maketu. MPI has signage in place in the Bay of Plenty to highlight these restrictions In addition, the scallop fishery in the Nelson – Marlborough South Island area has been closed for several years so it can recover and rebuild stocks, and these efforts are ongoing.

Map of North Island closed scallop fisheries (in red).

“There are still areas throughout New Zealand where you can get scallops and one of the best things you can do is download the free Fishing Rules app and check the rules and regulations for the area you intend to fish.

This app will show you areas that are closed and those that are not. By checking this information on your app, you’ll also learn about the daily catch limit too, so you’ll have information about the rules at your fingertips – even if your phone is offline,” Emma Taylor.

Meanwhile, with significant closures of scallop fisheries for rebuilding, you can expect MPI Fishery Officers to be visible so to ensure the closures are being respected.

“Taking scallops from areas that are closed could result in a significant fine. We’d encourage fishers to respect the rules – do your part in helping the areas that are closed to recover so they can be fished again in the future when it’s at a sustainable level,” says MPI National Manager of Fisheries Compliance, Niamh Murphy.

MPI encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24).

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