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
|Tasmania||Tasmania Scallop Fishery||Depleted||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.
Tasmania Scallop Fishery
The harvest of Commercial Scallop in Tasmania waters is regulated through a minimum size limit of 90 mm SL; animals of this size are approximately ≥ 3 years of age and have spawned at least twice [Young et al. 1989]. The Tasmania Scallop Fishery is managed under a harvest strategy where surveys are undertaken to estimate abundance and decision rules are used to open an area (or areas) to fishing with TACs based on the estimated abundance. Similar to the Commonwealth fishery, these decision rules include a minimum size limit and a maximum discard rate (which is not to exceed 20 per cent). However, unlike the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (Commonwealth) (BSCZSF), there is no requirement to close a proportion of the beds found during surveys. Instead, protection of scallop habitat, which may contain scallop beds, is afforded through a ban on scallop dredging in waters less than 20 m and a network of dredge-prohibited areas around the state.
Biomass in the Tasmanian Scallop Fishery (TSF) is historically overfished with recruitment and production levels now affected. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, surveys generally found low scallop densities and limited evidence of successful recent recruitment but did identify two beds (one on the north west coast and the other on the east coast) containing commercial quantities [Semmens et al. 2018]. Surveys in 2016 and again in 2017 generally only found very low levels of scallop abundance and limited evidence of successful recruitment, with no area considered to contain commercially viable quantities in either year. This includes the east and north-west coast beds fished in 2013–15, which appeared to have been fished down to a commercially unviable density, with no subsequent recruitment evident.
Fishing mortality is managed with the aim of restricting catches to beds of mature scallops near the end of their lifespan. The combination of the harvest strategy and depleted biomass has led to a history of closures due to low abundance. In recent times, the fishery was closed between 2000–02 and again between 2009 and 2010. Areas with commercial density of scallops towards the end of their lifespan were opened to fishing each year between 2013 and 2015. The fishery has subsequently been closed since 2016.
The above evidence indicates that the biomass is depleted and recruitment has been impaired. The current restrictions of fishing mortality have not yet led to evidence of recovery or recruitment. On the basis of the evidence above, the Tasmania Scallop Fishery management unit is classified as a depleted 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.
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- 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.