December 3, 2013
Maine scallop fishermen kicked off their season Monday with some of the highest per-pound prices ever seen, helping to offset harvesting restrictions put in place to better manage the fishery, a state official said.
Fishermen in the scallop-rich waters of Cobscook Bay near the Canadian border were being paid $12 to $13 per pound on the opening day, far higher than last season’s prices that ranged between $7 and $9, said Trisha DeGraaf, scallop resource management coordinator from the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
“This year’s price is the highest I’ve ever seen it,” she said Monday after visiting Cobscook Bay, where more than 100 scallop boats were out despite rough weather.
Maine’s scallop fishermen operate under a regulatory system that divides the state into three zones with restrictions and closures aimed at allowing scallops to replenish.
For most of the coast, the scallop season will last 70 days. But the season will be limited to a 50-day season in Cobscook Bay. Daily catch limits are also in place.
Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said the restrictions have been challenging, but the efforts aimed at restoring the fishery are working.
In 2012, fishermen hauled in 2.4 million pounds of whole scallops, or about 290,000 pounds of meat, the best harvest in a decade. The catch was worth $3.2 million.