Bays reopened for scalloping

AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) reopened several areas to scalloping that had been closed in December by emergency action. The reopening came on the advice of staff scientists who found discrepancies in surveys of harvestable biomass of the species.

Corrected projections of harvestable biomass and in-season surveys both revealed that less than the targeted 30 percent of the harvestable biomass had been removed from these areas, a statement from the department said. Approximately 13,500 pounds in the Inner Machias Rotational Area and 4,500 pounds in Gouldsboro Bay remained to be harvested as of March 9. As a result, Inner Machias Rotational Area, Wahoa/Jonesport Reach and Gouldsboro Bay and Dyers Bay temporarily reopened to fishing on Monday.

DMR pre-season dredge surveys have been used since 2012 to estimate abundance and harvestable biomass in areas likely to be subject to heavy harvesting pressure.

DMR staff then uses estimates of scallop biomass removed from these areas based on port sampling, sea sampling and industry feedback to make decisions about timing of in-season closures. Closures occur when 30-40 percent of the harvestable biomass in an area has been removed.

In the 2014-2015 fishing season, the department piloted in-season dredge surveys in Cobscook Bay. Results from the 2014-15 in-season surveys allowed Cobscook Bay to remain open two weeks longer than the pre-season survey originally supported.


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