The ability to distinguish hatchery-produced scallops from wild recruits is necessary to determine the survival and optimal size and time of deployment to the seabed in the scallop reseeding project FRDC 2002/48. Furthermore, to enable rigorous evaluation of commercial marine reseeding ventures, a means of identifying the released scallops upon recapture is required. Successful labelling of juvenile scallops will also allow researchers to estimate survival and dispersal of reseeded juveniles.
An identifying mark provides far greater sensitivity and accuracy than typical statistical-based assessment. There are a number of reported methods to discern hatchery produced animals but the methods we have chosen to test are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply to animals no greater than 4mm shell length (commercial release size). An alternative marking method, molecular analysis of scallop tissue, was evaluated and qualified opinions sought, but rejected on the basis of high expense and processing time compared with testing cheaper alternatives with demonstrated utility in other species.