AUGUSTA — Nine weeks into the Maine scallop season, several areas along the coast are scheduled for closure or limited access through emergency rulemaking. The use of emergency rulemaking to implement in-season changes is based on data from monitoring programs. It provides a means to ensure that the industry has the most opportunity up front and that managers can quickly modify access to areas in a way that protects the resource and ensures future opportunity.
The closures took effect Feb. 5.
Casco Bay in Zone 1 will be closed to draggers but will remain open for diving when the season for Zone 1 divers resumes March 1. The reason for leaving Casco Bay open for divers is to provide an equitable share of days to Zone 1 divers for whom the entire month of February was closed.
The upper part of the Damariscotta River in Zone 1 also will be closed to draggers, yet for the same reason mentioned above, will remain open to divers when their season resumes March 1.
The entire Blue Hill Bay/Jericho Bay Rotational Area will be closed for the drag fleet. Again, divers will continue to have access for now as they have only had 31 days so far this season in Zone 2, while draggers have had 38.
The targeted closure in Chandler Bay/Head Harbor Bay previously implemented in Zone 2 will be extended to include all of Mud Hole Channel, which runs between Head Harbor Island and Great Wass Island.
For more information on the Maine scallop season, visit the Maine DMR website.