Scallop Fishing

Assortment of scallop shells.

Licence

You need a recreational scallop licence to take scallops in Tasmania. Scallops may only be taken by hand and only the licence holder can dive for scallops. You cannot take scallops on behalf of another scallop licence holder. Only licensed fishers can possess scallops when on the water. 

Aborigines engaged in aboriginal fishing are exempt from holding a recreational fishing licence but must comply with all other rules.

Seasons

See the Recreational Fishing Seasons page for current open and closed scallop season dates for the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and other areas of State waters.

The scallop fishing season is normally open from the Saturday before Easter to the end of July. The D'Entrecasteaux Channel, which historically accounts for 95% of the recreational fishery, is managed as a separate scallop fishing area to other state waters. The Channel has been closed for the past few seasons to allow stocks to recover. The area closure was necessary to protect scallop stocks and reduce the likelihood of long term closures.

Scallops are notorious for having highly variable populations with the area closure being declared to maximise the chances of successful recruitment by the remaining mature stocks in the centre and southern parts of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Preserving major scallop beds of mature scallops provides the best chance of successful spawning and settlement and limits the risk of longer closures being required in the future.

Size limits

There is a minimum legal size limit for each species of scallop.
  • Commercial and Queen scallops - 100mm
  • Doughboy scallops - 80mm
Gauges are available from Service Tasmania outlets.

Doughboy Commercial and Queen Scallops

Doughboy, Commercial and Queen scallops

Measuring and handling scallops

The size of the scallop is measured across the widest part of the scallop shell. This is generally parallel to the hinge. Scallops must be measured before they are taken and carefully returned if they are not yet size.

Scallops may be shucked for immediate consumption at sea as long as the shells are retained and brought ashore along with the rest of the catch. Any scallops consumed count towards your daily bag limit. Landing shucked scallop meats is prohibited.

Your whole catch should be taken home and any waste disposed of with your household rubbish as throwing waste and shells back in the water can spread fish diseases and marine pests.

Bag and possession limits

Scallop measuring gauge against commercial scallopsFishers with a recreational scallop licence have:
  • A personal daily bag limit of 50 scallops per day (all species combined) applies. This is your total catch for the day regardless of how many trips you make. Once you have caught your bag limit, you must stop fishing for scallops for the rest of the day. This is also your possession limit while out on the water and only licensed fishers can possess scallops on the water.
  • A possession limit of 100 scallops (all species combined) or 3 kilograms of scallop meat. This possession limit applies everywhere on land. This limit also applies to persons who do not possess a scallop licence.

Area restrictions

The D'Entrecasteaux Channel in the south of Tasmania is managed as a separate scallop fishing area to other state waters. The D'Entrecasteaux Channel is the area bounded in the south by a line from Scott Point to the northern tip of Partridge Island, then from the southern tip of that island to the Labillardiere Peninsula and in the north by a line from Dennes Point to Piersons Point.

All other State waters will be open for the recreational scallop season, except those that are restricted as Marine Nature Reserves, Fisheries Research Areas or marine farms without the permission of the leaseholder.

Consider the water quality of where you are taking scallops, particularly if you intend to eat the roe. See the Safety of Shellfish for Eating page for more information.

D'Entrecasteaux Channel scallop management

The policy is to keep the Channel closed until there is a substantial rebuilding of scallops stocks with a range of size classes distributed in the Channel not just highly localised stocks.

Research demonstrates that scallops (Pecten fumatus) in the Channel are genetically different than those on the East Coast. This indicates that the Channel is 'self seeding' and reliant on scallop stock populations from within the Channel. This highlights the importance of protecting areas of high density spawning stock to increase the likelihood of steady and/or significant recruitment pulses for the Channel.
 
The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies conducts annual monitoring of the Channel and the results are considered by the Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee.   As monitoring indicates that there has been no substantial rebuilding of scallops stocks the area remains closed.

Research reports

Read more about recreational scallop research in Tasmania.​

Scallop illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe

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