January 17

Maine closes some scallop fishing areas to prevent depletion

The closures go into effect on Saturday.

From staff reports

Certain scallop fishing areas have been closed by the state’s Department of Marine Resources to prevent depletion of the stock.

“These are very small, targeted closures to take some vulnerable areas out of play,” said Trish DeGraaf, scallop resource management coordinate for the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “There was high amount of pressure on these areas. They were heavily fished last year. We want to keep the areas viable long-term.”

In 2012, fishermen hauled in 2.4 million pounds of whole scallops, or about 290,000 pounds of meat, making it the best harvest in a decade. The catch was worth $3.2 million. Last year, about 400 fishermen participated in the scallop fishery.

The closures, which are effective on Saturday, are located in Moosabec Reach, Inner Harbor/Deep Hole/Southeast Harbor, Muscle Ridge, Damariscotta River, Medomak River and Somes Harbor.

“Scallop populations throughout the state are at extremely low levels. The department is concerned that unrestricted harvesting during the remainder of the 2013-14 fishing season in these areas may deplete a severely diminished resource beyond its ability to recover,” the Department of Marine Resources said in a statement.

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