14 Jul 2009

Scallop season set to disappoint

9:18 pm on 14 July 2009

The scallop season opens on Wednesday, with commercial fishers facing another disappointing harvest of the shellfish.

Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company has set a target of 120 tonnes for the major New Zealand dredging grounds in Nelson and Marlborough.

Its chairman Buzz Falconer says that is about 15 tonnes more than last season, but well short of the harvests of less than a decade ago.

About 25 commercial boats will fish Golden Bay and Marlborough Sounds, but the traditionally prolific scalloping area of Tasman Bay remains closed for a sixth successive season.

While recreational scallopers will be out on Wednesday, Mr Falconer says commercial fishing may not start there until September.