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Queen scallop in Northern Ireland waters, bottom trawl

fish

Aequipecten opercularis

Content last updated
3rd Oct 2017

Stock:
Queen scallop, Irish Sea

Management:
Northern Ireland fisheries management

Overview

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 to about 180 m but is most common in water of 20-45 m depths. The queen scallop is a simultaneous hermaphrodite and the onset of sexual maturity occurs at a very young age, typically at around one year old. In the Irish Sea there are three distinct peaks of spawning each year in the inshore populations, occurring in February-March, June-July and September-October, with the autumn spawning appearing to be the most important.

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). Queen scallops reach a marketable size (50 mm) at an age of 14-18 months and the fishery is generally dominated by individuals of 2-4 years old.

Queen scallop trawl fisheries are mostly concentrated in the Irish Sea and off the west coast of Scotland. They are targeted with otter trawls (most of the Manx vessels and Northern Irish vessels).

Stock Status

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Queen scallop stocks in the Irish Sea have been has been scored as moderate risk. This is because queen scallops are moderately vulnerable to fishing exploitation (www.sealifebase.org), and stock status is largely unknown.

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Management

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The management of scallop stocks in Northern Ireland waters has been scored a moderate risk. Management is currently through gear restrictions and spatial closures and is currently not based on a formal stock assessment.

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Bycatch

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The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored moderate risk.  This is because the bycatch and rates, by weight, are between 10% and 30% and there is considered to by high survival of undersized queen scallop.  There is also a moderate risk to Protected, Endangered and Threatened (PET) species (for example common skate and undulate ray); these are likely to be impacted by the fishery but have high survival rates.

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Habitat

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The habitat impact of this fishery has been scored a Low risk. This is because queen scallop trawlers target specific habitats with coarse sandy substrate with high tidal seabed stress resulting in tidal disturbance and fragile habitats or communities are unlikely to occur. It is therefore likely that the relative impact of the fishing disturbance is limited. The fishing gear is designed to move over the seabed and catch swimming queen scallops.

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Outlook

Type Current Risk Status Outlook Reason

Stock

Moderate Stable

Stock assumed to be stable, though a lot of uncertainty due to lack of information.

Management

Moderate Stable

Management regime is stable, though current control measures may not be enough to avoid localised depletion of grounds.

Bycatch

Moderate Stable

Habitat

Low Stable

Nutritional Information

 
Energy
69 (kcal)
3%*
LOW
Fat
0.5 (g)
1%*
LOW
Saturates
0.1 (g)
1%*
LOW
Sugar
0 (g)
0%*
 
Salt
1 (g)
17%*

*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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