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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Scallop commercial fishing

​A good price and demand are maintained for scallop meat in local and international markets.

Scallop stocks can be highly variable depending on environmental factors such as the strength of the Leeuwin Current, a warm current that flows south along the coast of Western Australia.

As part of our role in fishery management, we work closely with scallop fishers to monitor recruitment (entry of juveniles into the overall scallop population) and other factors, so we can predict where and when to catch scallops.

Size and condition of the meat is essential in obtaining high market value for scallop meat. As meat size and condition vary significantly through the year, these factors influence selection of appropriate seasonal opening dates.

The two main fisheries are usually the Shark Bay Scallop Managed Fishery and the Abrolhos Islands and Mid West Trawl Managed Fishery (AIMWTMF), with smaller fisheries to the south of WA (east of Rottnest Island and in Geographe Bay, and off the south coast).

In Shark Bay there is a dedicated scallop fleet and also prawn trawlers that are licensed to take both prawns and scallops. Scallop boats can take 70 per cent of the annual catch while prawn boats can take the remainder. In the other fisheries, boats are either dedicated scallop boats or take scallops as part of a multi-species fishery. 

Marketing

The desirable ‘meat’ of the scallop is the animal’s adductor muscle. Processing scallops involves ‘shucking’ (removing the adductor muscle from the shell) and trimming back to the white meat by removing the white (male) or coral-coloured (female) roe sac.

Scallops are processed at sea and landed as high-quality frozen meats. Small quantities of scallops may be left ‘roe-on’ or half shell (when meat is still attached to one valve) to supply the gourmet seafood market.

Nearly all the scallop catch is exported to Asia, via the Hong Kong markets. Some scallops are sold on the local and Australian markets, but are usually considered a luxury item.​

For further information about commercial catch and effort please refer to the Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia. This publication should be read in conjunction with our Annual Report.

Last modified: 3/05/2019 2:43 PM

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