News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Scallop fishing in northern Gulf of Maine halted for 9 months, May 13, 2016 until Feb. 28, 2017 by US government agency NOAA, say fishermen have reached their quotas. First such closure since quota system was enacted in 2008

5/12/16, "Maine: Key scallop fishing area closed for nine months," dbtecho.com, Chris Tyler

"U.S. Federal regulators are shutting down scallop fishing in the northern Gulf of Maine, which is one of the most important harvesting areas for the shellfish. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that fishermen have reached their quota for the area and it will be closed starting Friday. The closure of the area to federally permitted scallop boats will last until next Feb. 28.

The closure is the first of its kind since the current quota system was implemented in 2008, New England Fishery Management Council analyst Deirdre Boelke said. She said it’s unlikely to have a dramatic impact on the availability or price of scallops nationally.

Scallop fishing in the northern Gulf of Maine has caused tension this year as fishing boats have moved into the waters off the northern Massachusetts coast to seek the shellfish, reports ABC. The northern Gulf of Maine fishing area touches Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

Scallops are one of the most valuable resources in the Atlantic. The fishery was worth more than $400 million in 2014.

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5/12/16, "Key Scallop Fishing Area to be Closed for 9 Months," AP via Maine Public Broadcasting, Portland, Maine

"Federal regulators are shutting down scallop fishing in the northern Gulf of Maine, which is one of the most important harvesting areas for the shellfish.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say fishermen have reached their quota for the area and it will be closed starting Friday (May 13). The closure of the area to federally permitted scallop boats will last until next Feb. 28 (2017).

Scallop fishing in the northern Gulf of Maine has caused tension this year as fishing boats have moved into the waters off the northern Massachusetts coast to seek the shellfish. The northern Gulf of Maine fishing area touches Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
 
Scallops are one of the most valuable resources in the Atlantic. The fishery was worth more than $400 million in 2014."


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May 11, 2016 NOAA press release:

May 11, 2016, "Closure of Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area on May 13," for immediate release 

"Because the 2016 total allowable catch for the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop (NGOM) Management Area has been fully harvested, NOAA Fisheries is required to close the area to all federally permitted scallop vessels.
This closure goes into effect on Friday, May 13, and will remain in effect through February 28, 2017.

Vessels that have properly declared a trip into the area and have crossed the demarcation line before 0001 on May 13 may complete their trip and retain and land scallops caught in the area.


All scallop vessels fishing on a day-at-sea must exit the area before 0001 on May 13.

Vessels issued a NGOM scallop permit (category LAGC B) may continue to fish in the Maine state waters portion of the NGOM Scallop Management Area under the State Waters Exemption program provided they have a valid Maine state scallop permit and fish in Maine state waters only.

Read the fishery bulletin and notice as filed in the Federal Register this afternoon. More information on the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery is available on our website.

Questions: Please contact Travis Ford at 978-281-9233."



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Dec. 2015-State of Maine allowed two weeks or less for scallop fishing:

12/14/2015, "DMR closes Gouldsboro Bay and other areas to scallop fishing," Ellsworth American (Maine), Stephen Rappaport

"The Maine scallop fishing season opened on Dec. 1 and, less than two weeks later, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher closed it down in large areas of Downeast waters.

Last week, DMR announced that, as of Sunday, scallop fishing in Gouldsboro and Dyer bays in Hancock County and Wohoa Bay, the Jonesport Reach and the department’s Inner Machias Rotational Area, all in Washington County, are done for this season. According to DMR, Keliher shut the fishery down in those areas “in order to protect Maine’s scallop resource due to the risk of unusual damage and imminent depletion.”

At a meeting in Ellsworth just days before the season opened, DMR Resource Coordinator Trisha Cheney warned that scallop populations throughout the state were extremely low. While the department agreed to industry requests to set the fishing season (except in Cobscook Bay) at 70 days, Cheney said, it was likely that fishing in some areas would be closed after only a few days of fishing.

The closure was announced after just seven days of fishing. (In most areas, fishing is allowed only four days per week, Monday through Thursday.)

With the scallop resource still in poor condition, DMR is worried that continued harvesting in the closed areas could deplete the stock in those locales beyond its ability to recover.

“Continued harvesting may damage sublegal scallops that could be caught during subsequent fishing seasons, as well as reducing the broodstock essential to a recovery,” the department wrote in an explanation of the adoption of the emergency closure rule.

According to DMR, “direct input” from both the Marine Patrol and from fishermen, it is likely that the scallop harvest in the closed areas “has likely exceeded the 30 percent (of harvestable biomass) removal target that ensures the fishery continues to rebuild.”...

On Dec. 1, DMR reported that 20 boats were fishing the area, with the majority reaching their daily limit by 11a.m. A day later, several boats began searching to the west, toward Tibbets Narrows, or left the area completely; most of the boats that remained continued to fish past 1 p.m. while others were not able to get their daily limit. By Dec. 3, many boats fished past 3 p.m. and did not land their limit. By Dec. 9, no boats remained fishing in the area.

“This information indicates that the majority of legal sized scallops in the area have been harvested, the department said."



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