Good catch for scallop season's opening

21:01, Jul 15 2014
 Laressa Shenfield
GOOD CATCH: Jamie Chrystal sifts through his scallop haul after an early morning dive yesterday.

A team of hardy divers hoping to catch the first scallops of the season were in the water before sunrise yesterday.

Five divers and three crew members from the Boating Marlborough Dive Centre left Picton at 4.30am and headed out to Kumutoto Bay in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Shop manager Kate Trayling said they were in the water by 5.30am. Despite the dark, none of the divers had any problems collecting their quota of 50 scallops each, Trayling said.

They spent about 40 minutes diving at a depth of about 12 metres, she said.

"Visibility was pretty good even though it was more of a night dive. It was dark but we could still hover about a metre from the bottom and see the scallops."

The hardest part of diving for scallops was measuring them on the seabed, Trayling said.

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Regulations state scallops have to be 90 millimetres in size and measured before they are placed in the catch bag.

"They have to be the legal size when they get to the surface."

Although the water temperature wasn't too different to a daytime dive (about 12.5 degrees Celsius), the surface temperature made for a brisk morning.

The scallop season closes on February 14.

The Marlborough Express