The DMR Scallop Advisory Council will meet in Augusta on June 29. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Scallop council to meet

AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) Scallop Advisory Council is set to meet June 29 at 6 p.m. at the DMR offices in Augusta.

Minutes of the March meeting are now available online.

At that meeting, Resource Coordinator Trisha Cheney said the 2015 scallop landings data are complete, and despite having much less bottom open to fishing than the year before, “it was another record-breaking season.”

“We had the highest landings and value since we began collecting trip level data,” Cheney said. “A lot of that was driven by people finding scallops in a lot of areas they hadn’t seen in a really long time.”

With the rotational closures in the state management scheme, she said, “the scallops are able to stay on bottom longer, allowing them to grow bigger, resulting in a much larger sized meat. That larger product fetches a really high price on the market.”

Cheney said the DMR plans to submit a bill in the next legislative session creating an owner-operator requirement for urchin and scallop draggers. “The department sees this as the first step towards getting the baseline in place for moving towards allowing new entrants into the fishery,” she said. “We want to make sure that people behind the wheel are responsible for their actions and are stakeholders in the fishery.”

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