Saucer Scallop

Latin name: Amusium balloti

Common names: Ballot's Saucer Scallop, Scallop, Scallops

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Saucer scallops are dangerously overfished in QLD, with numbers reduced to around 15% of historical levels.
  • Saucer scallops are caught in bottom otter trawls. The Queensland fishery operates primarily in offshore waters southward of the Great Barrier Reef, over areas of sandy seabed.
  • The accidental catch of threatened and endangered species like endemic sharks and rays is a major issue in Australian prawn fisheries. The Queensland government abandoned an independent observer program in 2012 so bycatch reporting is not reliable and science-based management is hampered as a result.
  • Saucer scallops are caught using otter trawls that operate just above the seafloor. Significant areas of the seafloor are protected in area closures and marine parks in the QLD fishery.

More information

East Coast Trawl Fishery (262t in 2020, 209t in 2019)

Ballot’s saucer scallop is a demersal filter feeding bivalve mollusc found in Western Australian, central/northern Queensland and New Caledonian waters, and are caught using bottom otter trawl fishing methods in QLD and WA.

The QLD saucer scallop fishery is dangerously overfished, to a level where under QLD’s sustainable fishery rules the fishery should be closed altogether until it has shown signs of recovery. The QLD government has been irresponsible in ignoring the scientific recommendations of their scientific assessment and own newly-developed harvest strategy.

Queensland trawl fishers are required to report any threatened and endangered species they catch but serious concerns have been raised in this fishery about unreliable reporting. Bycatch mitigation measures including turtle excluder devices are used in Queensland but may not address all the impacts of the fishery. Despite no major changes to management and a consistent level of fishing effort in recent years, 2019 saw a 63% reduction in bycatch reports of species like sawfish, sea turtles and sea snakes. This bycatch reporting is unverifiable because there has been no independent observer program since 2012.

This fishery has a high level of discards and it is concerning they are not required to be reported. The most recently available data estimated 25,271t of discards in 2014, compared to 6702t of retained catch in the same year. Secondary species include Tiger prawns, Eastern King prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and Balmain bugs.

The fishery will be required to resume an independent observer program by 2024, likely to be based on e-monitoring. While it is welcome, the program should be implemented sooner. This and other reforms currently underway in the Queensland fishery have strong potential to improve the GoodFish ranking of this seafood option if implemented quickly and effectively.