7 Sep 2009

Low scallop harvest expected again this season

8:32 pm on 7 September 2009

New Zealand's main commercial scallop harvest gets under way at the top of the South Island on Monday, with expectations of another disappointing season.

Nelson's Tasman Bay is closed to commercial scalloping for a sixth successive year due to a dearth of the shellfish.

Instead, 24 boats will fish in Golden Bay and the Marlborough Sounds, a tenth the size of the vessel fleet of the 1970s.

The Challenger Scallop Enhancement company, which manages the fishery, expects 120 tonnes of scallop meat will be harvested in the season which ends in February, compared with about 500 tonnes eight years ago.

Scientists say a possible cause of the scallop decline in Tasman Bay is the build-up of sediment which, when disturbed, buries the shellfish.