Public feedback is being sought on an MPI proposal to close the southern scallop fishery for a year to see if depleted stocks recover.
The fishery was closed last season, but a survey this season shows stocks continue to decline, says MPI's inshore fisheries manager, Steve Halley.
"Some individual scallop beds have stabilised during last season's closure. However, overall the fishery, including in the Marlborough Sounds, is close to its lowest recorded levels,” says Steve.
"The proposed closure would be in place through the entire 2017 season, which runs from 15 July 2017 to February 14, 2018.
"I'd encourage everyone who takes part in this fishery to provide us with their feedback. All feedback will help us arrive at the best possible decisions for this fishery.
"As part of last year's consultation on the management of this fishery, submitters told us longer term closures would provide the best opportunity to support an increase in scallop numbers.”
The Ministry has worked with Tangata Whenua, recreational and commercial fishers to develop the proposals says Steve.
In addition, a multi-sector working group has been established to ensure all sectors have input into the development of long term management options for the fishery.
"Once developed these options will be presented to the Minister for Primary Industries for consideration."