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Status and recommendations

In Norway, the great scallop are only harvested by divers, with the core area for the fishery being in Trøndelag county. The Institute of Marine Research carry out regular surveys to determine recruitment and age structure of the stocks.

A sustainable long-term development and management of the scallop stock requires biological data and information about catch efficiency. 
 
Surveys carried out in Trøndelag over the past decades suggest that the reproductive capacity and recruitment of the population being harvested is good, with low variation in age class structure from year to year. The Institute of Marine Research has also participated in the Norwegian national programme of mapping marine habitats, which includes mapping of high density areas of scallops. 
 
The survey mapping documented great scallop beds at depths of up to 60 meters. This is important in terms of assessing the part of the population above 30 m depth that cannot be harvested by divers, but which probably supports recruitment. The survey helps us to improve our understanding of distribution and recruitment, which in turn may lay the foundations for long-term, sustainable harvesting of great scallops.
 
Recent surveys of the populations at the northern limit of distribution in Lofoten islands (68oN) indicate stronger recruitment from about 2012 and a northward change in distribution of the great scallops.

The fishery

Since 2000, the reported catch of scallops has been in the range 500–900 tonnes. More than 80 % of the landings have taken place in Trøndelag, on the islands of Hitra, Frøya and Froan. In Norway, great scallops are exclusively harvested by divers, who operate in diving teams from registered fishing vessels. There has been a slight shift in catches with increased catches northwards in Nordland County replacing the catches in Trøndelag. Distance to the resource, market demand and changes in regulation of commercial diving operations seem to be the main factors regulating the fisheries. 

Facts about great scallop

Latin name: Pecten maximus
Family: Pectinidae
Lifespan: over 20 years. Shell height: 17-18 cm. Maximum weight: 500-600 grammes.
Habitat: lives in recesses in seabed sediments, partially covered by sediment.
Spawning area and season: Spawns during the summer. Fertilisation takes place in the open water where the larvae develop and settle on the bottom after more than a month.
Feeding habits: diet consists of phytoplankton, bacteria, other micro-organisms and dead organic material. 

Map of distribution

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