Scallops ‘not worth it’
In Marlborough, you can’t get scallops for love or money, but seafood joints in the region have happily turned to other measures while the ‘‘beds replenish themselves’’.
Earlier this week, Fisheries New Zealand announced it was consulting on whether to extend the closure of the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA7) for the third season in a row.
The area, which covers the Marlborough Sounds and part of Tasman Bay, was first closed to recreational and commercial scallopers in July 2016.
When the ban was announced, local fish and chip shop owner Sharon Hiltz decided to support the ban and stop selling the shellfish.
‘‘We think it’s good if they close the beds every now and again, to let them replenish themselves.
‘‘As soon as the news went out, scallops immediately doubled in price ... we would have to charge $5 a scallop,’’ Hiltz said.
When the ban initially rolled out, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the beds would be closed for the season, until early 2017.
‘‘These closures will rest the beds, allowing mature scallops to spawn uninterrupted and juvenile scallops to grow,’’ Guy said in 2016.
The closure followed a survey which showed a significant decline in the fishery, despite commercial catch reductions which had been in place over the three previous seasons.
But in July last year, the Government announced the closure would be maintained for the 2017-18 season because scallop stocks had not recovered.
New Funky Fish owner Calvert James said his Blenheim chippie also didn’t serve scallops because it wasn’t worth it.
‘‘I find they’re too expensive, I don’t bother.
‘‘You can buy the Chinese ones, but if people know that they’re Chinese, they don’t usually want to buy them.’’
James wasn’t sure if Marlborough people knew about the bans or if they simply didn’t like scallops.
‘‘We only get asked for scallops once every two weeks, Bluff Oysters we sell dozens every night.’’
Arbour head chef Bradley Hornby also stopped selling scallops a few years ago.
‘‘We live in an area that is very rich in lots of amazing ingredients ... just because scallops are off the menu, doesn’t mean there’s not 1000 other amazing seafood choices from our region.
‘‘From my point of view, as the head chef here who is responsible for buying these items, it’s about understanding