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Continued low scallop levels at the top of the South Island have forced a further temporary closure of the Southern Scallop fishery SCA 7, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The 2017/18 season closure affects scallop fisheries in Golden Bay, Tasman Bay and the Marlborough Sounds. It also includes the neighbouring Port Underwood area.

“I closed parts of the fishery last season after surveys showed a substantial decline in scallop numbers. This has allowed the fishery to be rested, but surveys this year show the stocks have still not recovered significantly,” says Mr Guy.

“A further closure is needed to give more time for recovery and to carry out important research on the fishery.

“Extending the closure for a further year has widespread support from many fishers and the community. The Ministry for Primary Industries consulted with locals on a number of options, and a majority supported some form of temporary closure as the best way to ensure the fishery’s long term future.”

Mr Guy said the Government has committed $400,000 over two years to a comprehensive research programme to better understand what has caused their decline and options to help them recover. 

“Over the next year, MPI will be commissioning new research to assess scallop survival and growth across a range of environments in Tasman and Golden Bay, and in the Marlborough Sounds. This will help determine whether interventions such as reseeding of scallops, re-establishment of shell reefs and changes to fishing gear are likely to be successful.

“It will also help determine what role disease and other factors may be having in suppressing the productivity of the scallop beds.”

Further background information is available at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/temporary-closure-of-the-southern-scallop-sca-7-fishery/

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