The Victorian Scallop Fishery is based on the species, Pecten Fumatus. Occasionally, incidental catches of doughboy scallops (Chlamys asperrimus) are taken as by-product, but are generally not in commercial quantities.
A number of input controls are also used in the fishery:
- Minimum size: currently, scallops taken must be more than 80mm wide when measured in a straight line at the widest point across the shell.
- Discard rate: to protect juvenile stock, fishing areas can be closed if more than 20% of the scallops in the catch are below the minimum size limit. Under a Code of Practice developed by commercial fishers and The Victorian Fisheries Authority, when juvenile beds of scallops are identified, GPS coordinates are used to establish spatial zones that are not fished.
- Meat per kilogram: also under the Code of Practice is a further management control designed to ensure the quality of the product and to enhance commercial returns; if the average number of individual scallop meats (adductor muscle) is more than 100 per kilogram, the fishery can be closed until the quality of the scallops improves.
The Fishing Method
Commercial fishing for scallops is by dredging; vessels tow a single dredge that is dragged along the seabed. Dredges are deployed from the rear of the vessel and are up to 4.5 metres wide. A tooth-bar on the bottom of the mouth of the dredge lifts scallops from the seafloor and into the dredge baskets.