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Scallops 700

Pectin novaezelandiae


Perhaps the most sought after of all shellfish, scallops are fantastic eating.  They are a classic bi-valve (two shells) with a flat valve and a concave valve.  They have a strong adductor muscle (the white bit) that they use to open and close their shells.  By closing their shells they jet out a stream of water that allows them to swim.  The roe (the red bit) and the muscle are the parts most commonly eaten. 

Scallops become fertile at about one year old when they reach about 60mm across.


There are different regulations for different areas as follows:

Scallops 300AUCKLAND & KERMADEC REGION (East Cape to Taranaki  and North)

Season:                               1 September - 31 March 

Size:                                     100mm

Bag Limit:                             20

CENTRAL REGION (East Cape to Taranaki and Cook Straight)

Season:                                15 July - 14 February

Size:                                      100mm

Bag Limit:                             20

CHALLENGER REGION (Marlborough Sounds - West Coast)

Season:                                 15 July - 14 February

Size:                                      90mm

Bag limit:                                50

SOUTHLAND FMA (Haast - Invercargill, Stewart Island)

Season:                                  1 October - 15 March

Size:                                       100

Bag Limit:                              10

SOUTH-EAST FMA (Blenheim - Invercargill)

Season:                                   15 July - 13 February

Size:                                        100

Bag limit:                                 20

Scallops are measured along the widest part.


*  Scallops must be landed in a measurable state BUT they may be shucked at sea (within daily bag limits) for consumption onboard.

*  These limits are per diver, per day but if diving from a boat up to  two extra quotas may be taken for safety/boat people.


Like all bi-valves, scallops are filter feeders meaning that they strain the water to extract the plankton they live on.  Scallops live on sandy-muddy bottoms in open water and harbours down to 50m where they sit on or just below the sand with their shells cracked slightly open feeding.

Scallops start life as a free-swimming embryo and after about 48 hours begin to grow a shell. After four-five weeks the scallop attaches itself to a rock or branch on the bottom where it spends the rest of its juvenile life.  Once it has grown a few millimeters it retracts its anchor line and drops to the bottom to begin adult life.  From the time it anchors itself to the bottom till the end of its life the scallop will have moved very little making scallop beds very vulnerable to over fishing (Scallops move so little in fact that morphological differences are apparent between the fish in neighbouring beds).  Dredging for scallops is doubly damaging to a bed because not only is it scooping up this years catch, by breaking the structures that juveniles are attached to it is killing next years harvest as well.

Scalloping rig 700