Scallops: Quick Facts
Scientific name: Pecten novaezealandiae
Other names: kuakua, pure, tipai, tupa (Maori), coquille saint-jacques de Nouvelle-Zealande (France), hotatega (Japan).
Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)
Best Fish Guide: Scallops
Ranking: E (Red- Worst Choice)
Alternative Choice: Cockles
Description: This is the larger and shallower distributed of two scallop species in New Zealand. It is found on the seafloor in sandy or muddy habitats of sheltered bays, from the low tide mark down to about 50m water depth. The main commercial fisheries are in the Nelson-Marlborough region, with other fisheries off Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and around the Chatham Islands. They are harvested before they spawn by dredging. The scallop dredge fishery in the Nelson-Marlborough region is currently seeking environmental certification under an international body - the Marine Stewardship Council.
Ecological concerns: Dredging is a highly destructive fishing method that digs into and is dragged along the seafloor. It results in a high bycatch of many non-target species, including fish and invertebrates. It causes incidental damage to scallops (as much as 50% of those not caught) and dramatically alters seabed ecology and associated species assemblages, including high biodiversity habitat (eg Spirits Bay and Tom Bowling Bay). Also of concern is the unknown sustainability of current catch levels and limits, variations in stock sizes depending on survey timing and fishing season plus the absence of a management plan.
Economic value: Most are exported to France, with an export value of falling to $0.783 million in 2010 markedly, down from $14.6 million in 2001. Coromandel scallops are sold in New Zealand.
Best option: Collected by hand not dredge
Biology and risk of overfishing (score B)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score D)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score E and D)
Management and management unit (score C and C)
For a full ecological assessment, click here