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Quick & easy guide to gather your scallops this season!

Written by Michelle Witte on August 29th, 2018.      3 comments

All set and ready for some tasty sea lollies!! Scallop season kicking off on the 1st September hope everyone is equipped and ready!
open scallops-164
Scallops are found in sheltered bays and harbours on substrates of sand, shell gravel, or in some cases silt.

For scuba diving the ideal depth is to boat anchor at 15 metres and dive between 12-20 metres.
Finding scallop beds freediving is ideally between the 5-15 metre mark.

Scallops settle just below the sand with their shell slightly open feeding and if lucky can also be spotted sitting on top of the sand if they have recently moved.
When looking for scallops I like to stay an arm's length off the sea bed and scan for the outline shape of the scallop or a slight mound of unsettled sand that a scallop has dug under. Noticeably small scallops I don't bother to pick up. Each scallop that I do pick up I make sure to measure and count as recommended.
The Ministry for Primary industry publish each year the rules, closures, and restrictions for your location.

The setup I use is a catch-bag (add a small lead weight inside) attached to my 20m bungee float line with a plat/float boat on the surface.
Leaving the bag at the bottom I cover the ground in a circular pattern around the catch-bag. This also helps to give me a good indication on the ground that I am covering and not go over the same area. To measure the scallop I use the handle of my catch bag where I have marked with the minimum legal size.
IMG 5351-11

When I am further away from the catch-bag I take the scallops up with me and measure at the surface with a measuring tool before they go in the plat.
Scallops in the float-27

Before leaving the area I recount the scallops I have gathered so I dont go over my daily quota.

Freediving for scallops there is not a lot gear needed and using the Salvimar One digital watch I am able to accurately get a depth gauge for gathering scallops that are found in depths of 7-20metres. Recovery time is very important between dives, not only for safety but for your diving endurance. Surface intervals should be double or more to the prior dive time. eg. 1:00 minute dive would equal 2:00 minute recovery. Once on the surface, this watch will automatically activate the calculation of the surface time between dives.   

Remember 1st September 20 scallops per diver. Get out there, enjoy, and be safe :)


Samuel Chapman says ...
Aw chur chelle lm hoping to get out the second week
Of scallop season due to the swells we’ve been having
This week
Tom says ...
How many scallops are you permitted to take every day?
Remi Mathieu says ...
Hi Tom, Limit on scallops is 20 per fisher per day and need to be 100mm here in the Auckland Kermadec region. If you are in a different region you can find all recreational fishing rules per region here.

We recommend you always go out with a measurer to protect you from getting in any trouble if you have a control and to protect NZ ressources :) Have a great time in the water!