FISH OF THE DAY #3 • À bord du Merry Fisher 695 (part.1)
I’m taking the Merry Fisher 695 for a little adventure in search of scallops on New Zealand’s East coast. Now scallops are found at depths from just a few metres to close to over fifty. They live in sheltered bays and harbours around New Zealand’s east coast but the tricky thing with scallops is they can swim. Yes a shellfish that can swim. This means entire beds of scallops can just up and move, so finding them isn’t always straightforward. Here’s hoping we can find a few today. Our 695 is set up with a 150 Honda four stroke. More than enough power and very economical. Our journey out to the scallop beds is just a few minutes. – You notice that my friend here has loaded a little bit of air for himself. – I have. – Bit of an assist on the bottom. – Steel lung. – Yeah, where as I am going to rely on holding my breath. As I dive down you can just make out the scallops. Can you see it? The slight half circle with the little tentacles peaking out. It can take a moment to get your eye in as they are sometimes quite difficult to see. Scallops can only be harvested in season and divers in this part of New Zealand can only take 20 per person with a minimum size of a hundred millimetres. As I said, scallops can swim and entire beds can move between seasons. Like a little jet unit. They can take between two and three years to reach legal size, so the fishery needs to be well managed to insure there are plenty left for next season and the beds aren’t fished out. And twenty, that’s me sorted. – He’s back, here we go. Back with our catch limit and time to head back to shore to cook this little lot up. A beautiful part of the world and a tasty one too.