Maine’s rebuilt scallop fishery is enjoying high demand from the culinary world for its prized meaty mollusks, and the 2016 season that ended last month is likely to go down as another strong year.
All sea scallops have been growing in value over the past 15 years, and while Maine’s catch is a small fraction of the national total, they are a premium product for which restaurants and consumers pay top dollar.
The Maine scallop fishery dwindled to just about 666,000 pounds in 2009 before rebuilding to more than 3 million pounds in each of the last three years. State fishing managers credit new regulations, including a rotational management system that protects localized areas from being too heavily fished.
The 2016 Maine scallop season, which began in December and ended in April, apparently also was productive, said Trisha Cheney, a marine resource management coordinator with the state. She said the fishery benefits because it can often provide larger scallops than the national fishery, which is anchored in Massachusetts and New Jersey.