Scal­lops ‘not worth it’

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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