A rule proposal by NOAA Fisheries would boost 2024 Atlantic scallop landings to 27.4 million pounds, up 2.4 million pounds from 2023’s projected final landings.

Published Monday in the Federal Register, the Framework 38 rule would implement the New England Fishery Management Council’s recommendations for the fishing year from April 1, 2024, through March 31, 2025.

One new change requires scallop vessels to step up their vessel monitoring system (VMS) reporting to transmit every five minutes on declared trips. The current ping rate reports every 30 minutes.

Increasing the VMS reporting rate to 5 minutes on declared scallop trips would improve enforcement of access area and closure boundaries by substantially reducing the window in which a vessel could enter or fish a closed area or access area undetected,” according to the agency rule proposal. Increasing the VMS reporting rate would also improve the quality of scallop fishery data gathered by the agency. 

Framework 38 would implement specifications and other measures, including:

  • Allocate effort into three rotational access areas (New York Bight, Area II, and Area I (individual fishing quota trips only);
  • Prohibit vessels on declared federal scallop trips from entering or transiting any scallop rotational area and the Western Gulf of Maine Closure unless decided otherwise in the annual specifications process;
  • Create a corridor for continuous transit in Area I;
  • Maintain the existing seasonal closure in Area II to reduce bycatch of Georges Bank yellowtail flounder and northern windowpane flounder;
  • Close areas to scallop fishing to protect small scallops and reduce bycatch of flatfish and
  • Adjust the scallop monitoring regulations to integrate the scallop observer notification requirement into the Pre-Trip Notification System.


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