Closures of six scallop replenishment areas will remain in place until the Queensland Government deems the seafood has recovered from low stock.
Closures of six scallop replenishment areas will remain in place until the Queensland Government deems the seafood has recovered from low stock. Mike Knott BUN151117SCALLOPS12

CQ's scallop fishery remains closed after 15 months

A GLADSTONE restaurant manager says the quality of scallops has improved.

The comments come as research continues into the impact of a 15-month scallop fishery closure throughout Central Queensland.

Ahead of the traditional seafood feasts on today's Good Friday, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has confirmed it has no plans to reopen the six scallop replenishment areas closed to commercial fishermen in January last year.

The Hervey Bay, Bustard Head and Yeppoon coast scallop fisheries were closed after the department said scallop biomass hit an "all-time low" causing significant concern.

Gladstone's Brass Bell Restaurant manager Wayne Dobson said his business had noticed better-quality scallops coming from Queensland's coast during the past 12 months.

"The price has stabilised now and they're bigger and of quite good quality," he said. Mr Dobson, who will enjoy scallops and prawns today, said it was a relief to see the quality of the seafood increase.

Former restaurant head chef Michael McClymont told The Observer that when the closures began, scallop prices had risen by $20 per kilogram over 10 years.

A Queensland Fisheries spokesperson said updated information on scallop biomass would be released by the end of the year.

The data is expected to show whether the closure, which was criticised by commercial fishermen, has been effective.

"Fisheries Queensland understands the changes have impacted some trawl operators and processors, however, doing nothing would have further driven the fishery into decline and delayed recovery of the stock," the spokesperson said.

The research is on top of a $2.58million three-year Queensland scallop recovery monitoring program, announced last November.