Potential closures for scallop fishery

ELLSWORTH — Scallopers still may be affected by the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 when it goes into effect next year.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources held a public meeting Dec. 10 to provide information on the process.

This fishery management action will address habitat requirements for all fisheries managed by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEMFC) in federal waters and may impact Maine fishermen who operate in federal waters.

The amendment includes proposals for area closures for habitat protection, groundfish spawning and research. Implications include the possibility of closures for the scallop, quahog, halibut, shrimp, herring and groundfish fisheries.

While lobster gear currently is not included in the list of gear potentially affected by the amendment, the possibility remains open that this could change as a result of public input and any supporting scientific information. The Council plans to work with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the coastal states in the Northeast on this issue.

These meetings were intended to help inform industry members about what the proposed actions include and how they can provide input during the public comment period which ends in early January. A formal public hearing on the Amendment is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.

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