Australian scallop fishery rebounds as high quota set
After five years of very low scallop counts, the Australian scallop fishery is expecting an abundant harvest of the lucrative shellfish this season.
The catch limit for this season’s fishery has been set at 3,000 tons, the highest the fishery has seen in six years, according to the Australian Fishery Management Authority (AFMA). The Commonwealth scallop season started 22 July in Bass Strait, between mainland Australia and Tasmania.
Nearly all the scallop catch is exported to Asia via Hong Kong markets, according to the Department of Fisheries Western Australia.
A marine heat wave wiped out much of the state's scallop stocks in 2012 and in 2014 there was no commercial scallop fishing in the Shark Bay fishery or the Abrolhos Islands and Mid West Trawl Managed Fishery due to low abundance of scallops, according to the Department of Fisheries.
However, the scallop stocks are now healthy, AFMA said.
“A scientific survey conducted to assess the stock has shown that there are a good number of quality scallops available to be harvested this year in Bass Strait. This is great news for lovers of this versatile seafood,” said AFMA CEO James Findlay.
The catch limit is set by the independent AFMA Commission and AFMA provides further stock protection by closing areas of the fishery where large scallop beds are able to spawn undisturbed.
“This means that lovers of this succulent seafood can be certain when they buy Bass Strait scallops, they are consuming a sustainable resource – not to mention supporting an important Australian industry,” Findlay said.