The federal Northern Gulf of Maine scallop management area will close one minute after midnight April 21, with projections now that 100 percent of the 380,855-pound quota set-aside will have been caught in little more than two weeks.
The closure announced late Wednesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service means no scallop vessels fishing under federal scallop regulations may fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop area until the end of the current fishing year on March 31, 2024.
A bulletin from NMFS to permit holders outlines how the current season, opened April 1, will wrap up:
“If you have declared a trip into the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area using the correct Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) code and (original emphasis) have crossed the VMS demarcation line before 0001 hours, April 21, 2023, you may complete the trip and retain and land scallops caught from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area.
“If you have a valid Maine or Massachusetts state scallop permit, you may continue to fish in Maine or Massachusetts state waters within the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area under the State Waters Exemption program.
"If you are fishing under an Individual Fishing Quota scallop permit (Limited Access General Category A), any pounds landed under a state waters only trip will still be deducted from the vessel’s allocation.”