Commercial Scallop (2020)
Date Published: June 2021
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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.
Stock Status Overview
|Commonwealth||Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery||Sustainable||Biomass surveys, size composition, catch|
There are several Commercial Scallop bed regions fished commercially in Commonwealth, Victorian and Tasmanian waters. 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 [Woodburn 1990, Semmens et al. 2015, Ovenden et al. 2016]. 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.
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 around 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 operators 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.
The 2019 biomass survey covered 9 King Island beds with an estimated combined biomass of 41 925 t, 2 Apollo Bay beds with an estimated combined biomass of 1 51 t and 1 Flinders Island bed with an estimated biomass of 1 607 t (Koopman et al. 2019).
The 2019 fishery opened on 12 July 2019 with a TAC of 3 897 t (up from 3 876 in 2018). Fishing generally focused on the same areas as the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons (that is, east of King Island), and operators reported scallops in good condition. The fishery closed on 31 December 2019 with 2 931 t of the 3 897 t TAC landed (3 258 in 2018).
The management of scallops is complex with a high degree of variation in recruitment from year to year . 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. However, 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. Thus, the above evidence also indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become 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.
Commercial Scallop biology [Young et al. 1989, Woodburn 1990, Semmens et al. 2015, Ovenden et al. 2016]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Commercial Scallop||7+ years, > 120 mm SL||2 years, 70–80 mm SL , depending on region|
Distribution of reported commercial catch of Commercial Scallop
|Total allowable catch|
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) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.
Commercial catch of Commercial Scallop - note confidential catch not shown.
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2007, Harvest strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2012, Harvest strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2014, Harvest Strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority 2015, Harvest Strategy for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Canberra.
- Conron, SD, Bell, JD, Ingram, BA and Gorfine, HK 2020, Review of key Victorian fish stocks — 2019, Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 15, First Edition, November 2020. VFA: Queenscliff. 176pp.
- DEPI 2013, Commercial Scallop Dive Fishery (Port Phillip Bay) Baseline Management Arrangements. Fisheries Victoria: Melbourne.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Semmens, J, Ewing, G and Keane J 2018, Tasmanian Scallop Fishery Assessment 2017. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. 34p.
- Semmens, JM and Jones, N 2012, Victorian scallop fishery survey final report. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania: Hobart.
- 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.
- Woodburn, L 1990, Genetic variation in southern Australian Pecten, in Proceedings of the Australasian Scallop Workshop. Tasmanian Government: Hobart.
- Young, P and Martin, R 1989, The scallop fisheries of Australia and their management. Reviews in Aquatic Sciences, 1(4): p. 615-638.