Scallop fishing closures
- New commercial fishing rules and reporting requirements apply from 1 September 2021.
- Scallop fishery closed. The Southern Inshore and Southern Offshore trawl regions are closed to taking scallops. The scallop effort cap in the Southern Inshore trawl region has been reached. Commercial fishers cannot take scallops in the Southern Inshore or Southern Offshore trawl regions from midday 4 April 2021, until after the winter spawning closure ends on 20 November 2021.
- The southern trawl regulated waters effort is restricted to 24 trawl fishing days per month for May, June, and July 2021. The trawl effort units used in the southern trawl regulated waters have reached the trigger.
- East coast black jewfish fishery CLOSED. The annual catch limit for the east coast has been reached. Black jewfish is a no-take species on the east coast for all fishers for the rest of the 2021 calendar year.
In 2016, the commercial fishing industry expressed concern about declining scallop catches in Queensland, and logbook records showed commercial catch rates of scallops were the lowest in the 39-year recorded history of the fishery.
A stock assessment completed in October 2016 suggested the scallop biomass is potentially as low as 5-6% when compared to 1977 levels. This was a significant cause for concern.
To protect the sustainability of scallops in Queensland, urgent management changes commenced on 3 January 2017, which are expected to reduce the total scallop catch by as much as 40% to prevent further declines in scallop stocks.
Scallop replenishment area closures
From 3 January 2017, all six scallop replenishment areas (SRAs) located off Yeppoon, Bustard Head and Hervey Bay, are closed to all scallop fishing. This includes the three SRAs that were due to open on 3 January 2017. The SRAs will remain closed until further notice.
Image 1 – Scallop replenishment area locations
Winter spawning closure
Fishers cannot take or possess scallops in the southern inshore and southern offshore trawl regions between 1 May and 20 November each year.
Scallop nets can still be used in this period; however, any scallops caught must be released and square mesh codend bycatch reduction devices must be used.