HALLOWELL — The proposed 2014-15 scallop season was approved last week by the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Advisory Council.
Zone 1 (New Hampshire to Penobscot Bay) & 2 (Penobscot Bay to Lubec) will have a 70 day season; Zone 3 (Cobscook Bay Area) will have a 50 day season. The season will start on December 1, 2014 and run until April 11, 2015.
Zone 1 and 2 will have a 15-gallon daily limit; Zone 3 will have a 10-gallon daily limit. A number of closures will be implemented based on either depletion or the presence of spat producing scallops in Eastern Casco Bay, Damariscotta River, Ocean Point (East Boothbay), Muscle Ridge (open only two days/week) and Lower Muscle Ridge, as well as mooring fields that will be closed to dragging in Blue Hill Harbor, Western Blue Hill Bay, Bartlett’s Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Somes Sound Harbor.
A trigger mechanism will be in place for the entire state scallop fishery. If DMR receives information indicating that a likelihood of 30-40 percent of the harvestable biomass has been removed, the Commissioner will close harvesting for the remainder of the season through emergency action.
While the DMR sought to reduce the upcoming season’s length from last year’s, it moved forward with a rulemaking proposal that maintains last season’s Zone 1 and 2 70-day season and Zone 3 50-day season at the request of the Scallop Advisory Council and industry.
A round of outreach meetings will be hosted by DMR staff prior to the season start to provide charts and calendars. Custom charts will be available upon request.