Nathan Guy’s recent decision to close the Scallop 7 fishery around the top of the South Island is welcome news. The closure applies to all scallop fishing, commercial and non-commercial. New management measures will be discussed and hopefully agreed before the start of the next season, in July 2017.
LegaSea is pleased with this outcome, which aligns with our New Zealand Sport Fishing Council submission. In that submission, we went a step further and recommended the fishery is closed until abundance surveys indicate a surplus yield is available for harvest. Then the fishery could be reopened gradually, for non-commercial use first, and then commercial use when more scallops are available to sustain that level of exploitation.
We are aware the current closure is having an impact on the local dive support industry in Marlborough. We will endeavour to ensure this economic pain is not overlooked when new management measures are discussed before the fishery reopens.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will need to make sure that all views are considered and the community is included in those discussions because it is the locals that are most affected by the decisions made in Wellington.