2012 Commercial Scallop Season
Tasmanian SeasonThe 2012 scallop season started with the issuing of 10 permits to vessels who expressed an interest in undertaking surveys in State waters. State waters were divided into six areas with a combined maximum (between participating vessels) of 50 tonnes of scallops allowed to be taken from each of these areas (a combined total of 300 tonnes).These surveys identified encouraging numbers of juvenile scallops on the western side of Flinders Island that will be monitored into the future. Additionally, surveys also identified a bed of scallops located between Rocky Cape and Table Cape in the State's northwest. A subsequent survey in this area yielded only low densities of scallops at uneconomic catch rates.Areas surveyed at Marion Bay and White Rock during the permit period also yielded promising results. Further surveys confirmed scallops in commercial quantities and catch rates for both of these areas.The Minister opened a limited 2012 scallop season on Wednesday 29 August to 31 December for Marion Bay with 10% of scallops units authorised to participate equating to a TAC of 525 tonnes with this including 100 tonnes of carryover research quota.White Rock was subsequently opened by the Minister in October to the 31 December with an increased percentage of units that could participate giving a TAC of 1163 tonnes (including the research quota).As a result of the presence of a paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) arising from a naturally-occurring algal bloom down the east coast of Tasmania, all commercial fishing for scallops was halted on the 2 November with the Tasmanian Scallop Fishermans Association (TSFA) voluntarily calling an end to the season due to on-going testing requirements and associated vessel lay-up costs on the 2 December.A total of 790 tonnes of scallops were landed prior to the premature closure of the season. Landed Catch by Month - 2012 Quota YearQuota Year 2012TAC - 1163tLanded Catch (tonnes)% of Total Allowable Catch taken June 20121.3 July 20120.09 August 201257.75.0 September 2012270.723.3 October 2012417.835.9November 201242.63.7 December 20120 TOTAL790.267.9 Bass Strait SeasonThe Commonwealth Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (BSCZSF) managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) commenced on 22 August 2012 and closed on 31 January 2013 with a TAC of 2,000 tonnes. Vessels initially fished Area 1 (Western Zone), and straight away operators reported low catch rates and poor quality scallops. As a result the majority of the fleet that held Tasmanian state concessions left the BSCZSF and moved to the Tasmanian scallop fishery where better catches were reported. A small number of Victorian vessels remained active in the BSCZSF and later in the season vessels fished areas south of Area 2 and good quality scallops were reported from this area. At the end of the season 249 tonnes (includes 13 tonnes research allowance) or 12% of the 2000 tonne TAC was landed. For further information on the Bass Strait fishery go to the AFMA website.