The open season for recreational fishers to gather scallops in Wellington Harbour starts for the year on Tuesday 15 July.
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton is calling on Wellington scallop fishers to follow the rules when they go fishing.
“Fishers need to make sure they know the bag limits, size limits and seasons before they go fishing,” he said.
The minimum legal size for scallops in Wellington is 100mm measured across the widest part of the shell.
The legal bag limit for scallops is 20 per fisher per day. In addition divers are entitled to take an extra daily bag for each of up to two safety people on board a boat – provided they are acting as safety people for the divers.
“Stick to the minimum size limits, they are carefully set to make sure there will be enough scallops left for the future. Taking undersized scallops is removing the mothers and babies before they have had a chance to spawn.”
“Only take what you need, fish for a feed and not to fill the freezer. The bag limits are set to make sure there will be scallops around to catch in future years.”
Fishery officers and honorary fishery officers will be out patrolling the harbour and inspecting scallop catches. Fines of $250 - $500 per offence can be imposed on fishers who ignore the rules. Serious breaches can result in the confiscation of diving gear, boats and vehicles.
Jim Anderton said fishery officers were tasked with protecting our fish stocks for future generations.
“They don’t want to write out tickets but if you ignore the rules you leave them no choice.
“If you see people taking more than their fair share you should report them to fishery officers by calling 0800 4 POACHER. They are stealing from you and from future generations.”
The scallop season will close on 14 February next year. The closure allows the scallops to spawn without being disturbed.
More information on the rules for recreational fishing in the Wellington area is available on the Ministry of Fisheries website at the following link.