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Commercial Scallop (2018)

Pecten fumatus

  • Jayson Semmens (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Harry Gorfine (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Nic Marton (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

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Summary

Australia has four stocks of Commercial Scallop. Two are sustainable – the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery and the Port Phillip Bay Dive Scallop Fishery. Two are classified as depleted – the Tasmanian Scallop Fishery and Victoria’s Ocean Scallop Fishery.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Commonwealth Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery BSCZSF Sustainable Biomass surveys, size composition, catch
BSCZSF
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (CTH)
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Stock Structure

There are several Commercial Scallop beds fished commercially in Commonwealth, Victorian and Tasmanian waters. These beds often contain different age classes of scallop and most have been fished at some stage in the past. Commercial Scallops in Port Phillip Bay (Victoria) and D’Entrecasteaux Channel (Tasmania) are genetically distinct from conspecifics in most other locations in south eastern Australia [Ovenden et al. 2016, Semmens et al 2015, Woodburn 1990]. Beds in north eastern Bass Strait are also genetically distinct to adjacent Bass Strait beds and may not contribute to wider recruitment based on biophysical models of larval movement [Ovenden et al. 2016]. Here, assessment of stock status is reported at the management unit level—Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (Commonwealth), Ocean Scallop Fishery (Victoria), Port Phillip Bay Dive Scallop Fishery (Victoria) and Tasmania Scallop Fishery.

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Stock Status

Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery

Commercial Scallops in the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery were considered recruitment overfished between 1999 and 2007. Following three years of closure due to low scallop abundance and concerns about overfishing, the fishery was reopened in 2009, under a new harvest strategy [AFMA 2007]. Commercial Scallops experienced die-offs in 2010–11 and the harvest strategy was revised in 2012 [AFMA 2012], 2014 [AFMA 2014] and 2015 [AFMA 2015]. Between 2009 and 2013 the fishery operated north of Flinders Island and since 2014 it has operated east of King Island.

Elements of the current Commonwealth harvest strategy include: a tiered management approach (whereby a 150 tonnes (t) TAC can be set as a ‘default opening’ TAC, covering the whole BSCZSF management area, to allow operator to search widely for scallop beds. Tier 1 of the harvest strategy states that if the scientific survey identifies one or more scallop bed(s) with a combined biomass of 1 500 t or more, with scallops greater than 85 mm in length and in ‘high’ density, and these beds are closed to commercial fishing, the TAC can be stepped up to a maximum of 2 000 t. Tier 2 of the harvest strategy states that if the scientific survey identifies one or more scallop bed(s) with a combined biomass of 3 000 t or more, and these beds are closed to commercial fishing, the TAC can be initially set to at least 2 000 t.

Surveys in 2017 covered eight beds around King Island with a combined adult biomass of 21 700 t and an additional four beds around Flinders Island with a combined biomass of 1 100 t [Knuckey et al. 2017]. The Flinders Island beds have not been commercially fished since 2014, and it appears there has been considerable mortality in these beds. These beds were closed for the 2017 season.

The 2017 fishery opened on 11 July 2017 with a starting TAC of 3 000 t. Fishing generally focused on the same areas as the 2014–16 seasons (that is, east of King Island), and operators reported scallops in good condition. The fishery closed on 31 December 2017 with 2 964 t of the 3 000 t TAC landed.

Compared with previous surveys, a relatively large biomass of 26 000 t was surveyed in the BSCZSF in 2016 [Knuckey et al. 2016] and 22 800 t in 2017 [Knuckey et al. 2015], centred in the west. These estimates are comparable to the very large historical annual catches taken from the fishery at its peak (24 000 t in 1983), when the fleet was much larger and catches were unconstrained. Additionally, the escapement (the percentage of the known biomass not caught in a year) has been high in recent years for western Bass Strait (86per cent in 2017, 87 per cent in 2016 and 76 per cent in 2015). Since fishing has not occurred in eastern Bass Strait in these three years, escapement there was 100 per cent.

As indicated above, the management of scallops is complex with a high degree of variation in recruitment from year to year and the need to manage individual scallop beds across the fishery. However, recent survey and catch information indicates that the biomass is currently not depleted in managed areas across the fishery and that recruitment has not been impaired in these areas. It is very difficult to predict future recruitment in scallop fisheries. The current management arrangements are designed to maintain areas of healthy biomass and on this basis minimise the chance of the stock becoming recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Commercial Scallop biology [Ovenden et al. 2016, Semmens et al. 2015, Woodburn 1990, Young, et al. 1989]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Commercial Scallop 7+ years, > 120 mm SL 2 years, 70–80 mm SL , depending on region
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Commercial Scallop

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Tables

Fishing methods
Commonwealth
Commercial
Dredges
Management methods
Method Commonwealth
Commercial
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Total allowable catch
Active vessels
Commonwealth
12 in BSCZSF
BSCZSF
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (CTH)
Catch
Commonwealth
Commercial 2.96Kt in BSCZSF
Indigenous No Catch
Recreational No Catch
BSCZSF
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (CTH)

Commonwealth catch is presented for 2017.

Victoria – Commercial (catch) (a) To protect commercial confidentiality of data, the catch in the Ocean Scallop Fishery (Victoria) and Port Phillip Bay Dive Scallop Fishery (Victoria) cannot be reported because there are fewer than five licence holders; and (b) In Victoria, the reporting period is fishing season, which runs from 1 April–30 March.

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Commercial Scallop - note confidential catch not shown.

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References

  1. Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2007, Harvest strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
  2. Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2012, Harvest strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
  3. Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2014, Harvest Strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
  4. Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2015, Harvest Strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
  5. DEDJTR 2016, Draft Port Phillip Scallop Dive Fishery Management Plan. Fisheries Victoria: Melbourne.
  6. DEPI 2013, Commercial Scallop Dive Fishery (Port Phillip Bay) Baseline Management Arrangements. Fisheries Victoria: Melbourne.
  7. DEPI 2014, Commercial Scallop Dive Fishery (Port Phillip) – Survey Results for 2014. Fisheries Victoria: Melbourne
  8. Gwyther, D 2015, Review of The TACC For the Dive Fishery for Scallops in Port Phillip Bay – Report to Port Phillip Bay Scallops, 27 March 2015. Melbourne: Picton Group Pty Ltd, 6 pp.
  9. Harrington, J, Leporati, S and Semmens, JM 2010, 2009 Victorian Scallop Fishery Survey, final report to Fisheries Victoria. Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania: Hobart.
  10. Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey - project 99/158 FRDC: Canberra.
  11. Knuckey, I, Koopman, M and Davis, M 2015, Bass Strait and Central Zone Scallop Fishery — 2015 Survey, project 2015/001291. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
  12. Knuckey, I, Koopman, M, Hudson, R, Davis, M and Sullivan, A 2017, Bass Strait and Central Zone Scallop Fishery — 2017 Survey, project 2016/0806, Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2015, Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery Resource Assessment Group (ScallopRAG) Meeting 23, Meeting Minutes; Date: 2 March 2015. AFMA: Canberra.
  13. Koopman, M, Knuckey, I, Harris, M and Hudson, R 2018, Eastern Victorian Ocean Scallop Fishery – 2017-18 Abundance Survey. Report to the Victorian Fisheries Authority. Fishwell Consulting. 42pp.
  14. Ovenden, JR, Tillett, BJ, Macbeth, M, Broderick, D, Filardo, F, Street, R, Tracey, SR and Semmens, J 2016, Stirred but not shaken: population and recruitment genetics of the scallop (Pecten fumatus) in Bass Strait, Australia. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil.
  15. Peterson, CH, Summerson, HC and Fegley, SR 1988, Ecological consequences of mechanical harvesting of clams. Fishery Bulletin, 85(2): p. 281–298.
  16. Semmens, J, Ewing, G and Keane J 2018, Tasmanian Scallop Fishery Assessment 2017. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. 34p.
  17. Semmens, JM and Jones, N 2012, Victorian scallop fishery survey final report. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania: Hobart.
  18. Semmens, JM, Ovenden, JR, Jones, NAR, Mendo, TC, Macbeth, M, Broderick, D, Filardo, F, Street, R, Tracey, SR and Buxton, CD 2015, Establishing fine-scale industry based spatial management and harvest strategies for the Commercial Scallop fishery in South East Australia, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2008/022. FRDC: Canberra.
  19. Woodburn, L 1990, Genetic variation in southern Australian Pecten, in Proceedings of the Australasian Scallop Workshop. Tasmanian Government: Hobart.
  20. Young, P and Martin, R 1989, The scallop fisheries of Australia and their management. Reviews in Aquatic Sciences, 1(4): p. 615-638.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.