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Queen Scallop, ICES Division VIa, Scallop dredge


Aequipecten opercularis

Content last updated
15th Feb 2017

Queen scallop, ICES Division VIa

Numerous stock units are owned/shared by U.K. and Ireland


The Queen scallop, Aequipecten opercularis is a medium-sized scallop species that grows to a maximum shell size of about 90 mm. It occurs from the shallow subtidal down to 180 m but is most common in water of 20-45 m depths. The queen scallop is a simultaneous hermaphrodite and the sexual maturity occurs between 1 and 2 years old at approximately 40 mm shell length (Vause et al, 2006). Queen scallops are distributed from Norway to the Mediterranean, but occur in greatest numbers in waters around the UK, particularly the Irish Sea. Fisheries targeting queen scallops are mostly concentrated in the Irish Sea, off the west of Scotland (Brand, 2006).

The maximum life span of A. opercularis is 8-10 years but individuals older than 4-5 years old are rare on all fishing grounds (MSC, 2011). Individuals usually grow to a shell height of about 90 mm, although a maximum shell height of 106.3 mm has been recorded (Quigley and MacGabhann, 2015).  The main fishing methods for catching queen scallops are dredge and otter trawl. Most queen scallop catches are taken from ICES divisions VIa and VIIa.



Brand, A. R. 2006. The European Scallop Fisheries for Pecten maximus, Aequipecten opercularis and Mimachlamys varia. Pages 991-1058 in S. Shumway and G. Parsons, editors. Scallops: biology, ecology and aquaculture. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Quigley, D., and MacGabhann, D. 2015. Queen Scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) in Irish waters: spatial & temporal landing patterns, fleet characteristics, and estimated CPUE (2003-14). Book of abstracts: 20th International Pectinid Workshop, Galway, Ireland, 22-28 April, 2015. 132pp.

Vause, B., B. D. Beukers-Stewart, and A. R. Brand. 2006. Age composition and growth rates of queen scallops Aequipecten opercularis (L.) around the Isle of Man. Journal of Sea Research 25:310–312.

Stock Status

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Queen scallops in ICES Division VIa has been scored a moderate risk. This is because population trends are unknown or there are signs of decline based on landings per unit effort data. However, the species is assigned a low vulnerability score in SealifeBase (Palomares and Pauly, 2016).

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Queen scallops in ICES Division VIa has been scored a high risk. This is because the current deficiencies of the management system have led to an uncontrolled increase of the fleet. There is some information on trends in landings but this information is not translated into advice on stock status or advice for management.

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The queen scallop dredge fishery scored as high risk for bycatch. The bycatch by boat dredges in scallop fisheries is high and causes significant damage. May species are affected but not retained, and mostly juveniles of species are caught.

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The queen scallop dredge fishery in this Division has been scored as high risk. This is because the scallop fisheries may disturb biological communities both directly and by changing the physical attributes of the areas being fished.

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Type Current Risk Status Outlook Reason


Moderate Deteriorating

Given the increase in number of vessels participating in the fishery, the stock is likely to decrease in the next years unless numbers of vessels are restricted.


High Improving

There is consultation process in place to try to incorporate additional management measures to the queen scallop fishery which include: increase in minimum conservation reference size, a closed season and limits on the number of vessels able to prosecute that fishery.


High Stable

Potential interest of stakeholders to introduce gear-specific management which may provide an opportunity to reduce bycatch.


High Improving

Scallop fisheries impact biological communities both directly and by changing the physical attributes of the areas being fished. However, there are some plans to incorporate spatial management in this fishery.

Nutritional Information

69 (kcal)
0.5 (g)
0.1 (g)
0 (g)
1 (g)

*per 100 g

Nutrition information per 100g raw product

Rich in Omega-3 | Protein | Vitamin B12 | Phosphorus

Good Source Of Selenium

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