Queen Scallop Dredge

Alternative names

  • Queenie Dredges

Summary

The dredges used to target queen scallops are wider and higher than a traditional Newhaven scallop dredge. They do not have tooth bar across the front, instead they have either a metal grid, or tickler chains to get the scallops to lift up off the seabed and swim into the dredge.  The scallops then fall back into a bag made of metal rings. Some fishermen are replacing the tickler chain and metal grid with a strip of rubber matting across the front of the dredge.

Queen Scallop Dredge

Environmental impact

For many years there has been concern about the impacts of scallop dredging on the benthic communities. There is no doubt that the tooth dredges can have a significant affect on the seabed if not managed effectively.  The small organisms that attach themselves to the seabed (benthic epifauna) are particularly vulnerable to scallop  dredging. Dredges can catch high levels of small shell fish and other seabed dwelling creatures as unwanted by-catch. For this reason there are many instances of spatial management and effort restriction in place around the UK to help manage the scallop fishery.

Other information

The main capture methods for queen scallops are the modified scallop dredge and small heavy built otter trawls. The queen scallop dredges are about 2 m wide compared to the ones for king scallop that are in the region of 750mm wide. They are also higher to catch the free swimming queen scallop as they rise up ahead of the dredge. Rather than the metal teeth at the front of the dredge the queen scallop dredges rely on a metal grid or a tickler chain at the front of the dredge to disturb the scallops and get them to swim up and into the dredge. They are then retained in a bag made of steel rings of a size to retail the better queen scallops and release most of the smaller ones. Some of the dredges are now being fitted with a strip of rubber matting across the front of the dredge instead of the metal grid or the tickler chain. This is found to be very effective for catching queen scallop in certain areas.

The gear is towed in a similar manner to that of the queen scallop gear with several dredges being towed behind a spreading bar with each vessel generally towing two sets of gear one over each side of the vessel. The number of dredges towed will depend on the size of vessel.

Gear classification

Main target species (UK)

  • Queen Scallops
  • Scallops

Possible bycatch

  • Benthos
  • Queen scallops
  • Crabs