Bay Scallops - 2013
Stock Status – Concern – Bay scallop abundance has shown some improvement since no harvest was allowed from 2006 to 2008 and seasonal openings have occurred for a few years in some areas since. High natural mortality from environmental change and predation cause annual variability in abundance within the areas. Fishery independent sampling showed low abundance in all areas except Bogue Sound in 2012. The main harvest season (last Monday in January through April 1) was opened in 2013 in Bogue Sound and areas south of Bogue Sound to the NC/SC state line but no other areas were opened due to limited availability of scallops.
Average Commercial Landings and Value – 2003-2012 – 4,348 lbs. of meat/$17,453
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – 0 lbs. of meat/$0
Average Recreational Landings – 2003-2012 – Unknown, 2012 – Unknown
Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – The bay scallop FMP was adopted in November 2007. The FMP implemented prohibited take from 2006 to 2008 until an independent sampling indicator was established for re-opening in 2009. Target indices were established from fishery independent data collected before the red tide event in 1984 and 1985 in Core, Back, and Bogue sounds to determine re-opening the fisheries. Amendment 1 of the Bay Scallop FMP was finalized in November 2010 to provide more flexibility to open the fisheries as the bay scallop population recovers. Improving data collection on the biology, harvest, environment, and socioeconomic aspects relative to bay scallops is recommended throughout the FMP to provide more comprehensive information for assisting in future management decisions. The FMP is undergoing an amendment and scheduled for completion by April 2015.
Research and Data Needs – Stock identification, recreational landings, recruitment, population abundance, and socioeconomic data, enhancement, cownose ray predation, habitat alterations and water quality impacts to bay scallop survival are recommended research items.
2012 Minimum Size Limit – None
Harvest Season – A commercial or recreational harvest season will not be opened unless at least 50% of the fishery independent sampling target index is reached for a region. Progressive harvest triggers are set at 50%, 75%, and 125% of the target index within each water body (Core Sound, Bogue Sound, Back Sound, all areas south of Bogue Sound, and Pamlico Sound). If the season were opened it is allowed from the last Monday in January through April 1. All areas remained closed in 2012 because abundance did not reach the target level for opening.
Size and Age at Maturity – 1.5 inches, (shell height)/6 months
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 2 years/1.5 years
Progressive harvest Indices and abundance Indices 2012 by region:
Core Sound (Oct-Dec) 1984-85 natural log Catch Per Unit Effort (lnCPUE) (scallops per minute tow):
50%: 0.86; 75%: 1.29; 125%: 2.15; 2012: -1.71 lnCPUE (scallops per min.)
Bogue Sound (Oct-Dec) 1984-85 lnCPUE (scallops per minute tow):
50%: 1.17; 75%: 1.75; 125%: 2.91; 2012: 1.18 lnCPUE (scallops per min.)
Back Sound (Oct-Dec) 1984-85 lnCPUE (scallops per minute tow):
50%: 1.01; 75%: 1.52; 125%: 2.53; 2012: -0.56 lnCPUE (scallops per min.)
Pamlico Sound (Jan) 2009 lnCPUE (scallops per 1-meter square quadrat):
50%: -0.27; 75%: -0.23; 125%: -0.14; 2013: -1.21 lnCPUE (scallops per 1-meter square quadrat)
Habits and Habitats – Bay scallops are estuarine-dependent mollusks found in grass beds. Bay scallops are hermaphroditic (contain both sex cells) bivalves and mature and spawn in a year. Their lifespan is only 12-26 months. In North Carolina, bay scallops spawn predominantly from August through January and again in March through May. The larvae go through several swimming stages before attaching to a suitable substrate such as seagrass. Upon reaching a size of approximately 1 inch (20-30 mm), bay scallops drop to the bottom. Although other benthic structures can be used for attachment, bay scallops use seagrass beds almost exclusively, and are therefore highly dependent on this habitat for successful recruitment. Bay scallops are filter feeders and feed on benthic diatoms. Predators of the bay scallop include cownose rays, blue crabs, starfish, whelks, and sea birds.
For more information, please contact Tina Moore at Tina.Moore@ncdenr.gov or 800-682-2632 or 252-808-8082.