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December 7, 2017

Plenty of scallops, but prices are low

Photo / Courtesy Downeast Dayboat Scallops
Photo / Courtesy Downeast Dayboat Scallops
Togue Brawn, of Downeast Dayboat Scallops, onboard the Bossy Lady.

The price for scallops so far this season is considerably lower than last year.

The Ellsworth American reported that with the start of the scallop season on Dec. 1 the price per pound is down $2 to $3 from 2016's average of $12.77. It also appeared that scallops were plentiful, but small, which generally means lower prices.

"I've heard the price is going to be low this year, but a lot of dealers were quoting prices last week that I thought were absurd," Togue Brawn, owner of Downeast Dayboat Scallops in Portland, told the newspaper.

The price is also being impacted by out-of-state competition, from places like Long Island, N.Y., and and Nantucket, Mass.

According to a press release from Maine's Department of Marine Resources, harvesters in Zones 1 and 2, which together stretch from the New Hampshire border to the Lubec-Campobello Bridge, are allowed to land 15 gallons per day of shucked scallops, and harvesters in Zone 3, which includes Cobscook Bay and the St. Croix River, are allowed to land 10 gallons a day. Harvesters in Zone 1 have 60 days to fish, those in Zone 2 have 70 days and harvesters in Zone 3 have 55 days.

Areas along the coast will be closed by the DMR, using emergency rulemaking, when 30% to 40% of the volume of legal sized scallops have been harvested.

"The 30% to 40% trigger has been shown to allow the resource to regenerate sufficiently to ensure a commercial harvest in the future," the release says. The trigger point can be determined by using information collected during the season from industry and the Marine Patrol and from in-season trawl surveys.

Certain areas in Zones 1 and 3 are designated as Limited Access areas, meaning harvesting in those areas will be limited to one day a week per gear type to allow the resource to re-build. In Zone 2, certain areas are designated as Rotational Areas, which means they are opened and closed like crop rotation in agriculture.

A law change passed in the last legislative session, which takes effect in January 2018, will require the owner of a boat used for harvesting scallops to also hold a license and be onboard.

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