Saucer scallop stock assessment

Chart of 2021 Australian east coast stock assessment biomass estimates and key management actions for saucer scallop

© Queensland Government

Chart of estimated harvest for saucer scallop from 1956 to 2021

© Queensland Government

Why did we assess the Ballot’s saucer scallop stock?

There have been longstanding concerns about the sustainability of Ballot’s saucer scallop on the east coast of Queensland. Scientific research included evidence of reduced catch rates, annual landings and fishing effort since 2013.

In 2021, Fisheries Queensland completed a stock assessment using the most current biological and commercial catch data to:

  • determine the sustainability of the saucer scallop stock
  • help inform management decisions
  • inform the application of the trawl harvest strategy.

This assessment estimated that the saucer scallop was between 10% and 29% of unfished levels, and most likely at around 15%.

Why were the 2021 results different to past assessments?

The previous assessment focussed on management region 3 (Yeppoon to Hervey Bay) whereas the current assessment models the whole stock in regions 3 and 4 (Yeppoon to K’gari and south to Mooloolaba).

Next steps for fishery management

Under the Queensland Harvest Strategy Policy, rebuilding strategies are required for stocks below 20% biomass. The first preference is to rebuild the stock with restricted targeted fishing, providing it can be achieved within a specified timeframe. However, if this cannot be achieved, fishing for the affected species may be ceased for a period.

The trawl working group provides advice on the management of the east coast saucer scallop fishery and includes representatives from the commercial and recreational sectors, seafood processors and wholesalers, the conservation sector and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Read information on the working group.

The working group will continue to consider the stock assessment in 2022 and:

  • review and provide advice on the fishery management framework, including management and reform options and fishing rules
  • develop a harvest strategy for this fishery consistent with the principles of the Queensland Harvest Strategy Policy and the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027.

Broad public consultation is planned for 2022 to allow all stakeholders, including commercial fishers, environmental groups and other interested stakeholders, to provide comments to inform a final decision on management action to rebuild this important fishery.

More information

Access the stock assessment of Queensland east coast Ballot's saucer scallop.