Illegal scallop seeding found

Last updated 09:22 12/08/2014

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A botched attempt at seeding scallops in the Marlborough Sounds has resulted in hundreds of dead undersized scallops.

Ministry for Primary Industries was tipped off on Friday about the failed harvest attempt at Te Awaiti Bay, in Tory Channel.

MPI Nelson Marlborough compliance manager Ian Bright said the scallops were all under the 90-millimetre minimum size, in about 3 metres of water and were all dead.

It was a reminder to people that all undersized fish and shellfish should be returned to the sea immediately after being caught, Bright said.

"It looks like someone has had a go at seeding scallops in what they believe is an easy place to harvest them.

"They have moved the shellfish a long way from their natural habitat and put them in a place where scallops do not grow, among weed. It wasn't very well thought out, so they were always going to die, which is a waste of a resource that people really value."

The seeding wasn't just wasteful, it was also illegal, Bright said.

"Any undersize fish or shellfish that is caught must be returned to the sea immediately, as close to the area where it was caught as possible," he said. "If MPI compliance officers had caught someone with hundreds of undersized scallops on their boat, for any reason, they would have found themselves in court facing serious fisheries charges."

The daily recreational bag limit for scallops is 50 per person for the Challenger Fisheries Management Area, which includes the Marlborough Sounds.

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- The Marlborough Express

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