KEY MAINE SCALLOP FISHERY CLOSED
Key Maine scallop fishery closed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is closing down an important scallop fishing ground in the northern Gulf of Maine area for the next 11 months.
The Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area is closed to all federally permitted Limited Access General Category (LAGC) scallop vessels effective 0001 hr, on April 25, 2019, except as exempted below. The scallop regulations require that they close this area once they project that 100 percent of the 2019 LAGC total allowable catch for this area will be taken. This closure is effective through March 31, 2020.
LAGC vessels that have declared a trip into the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area using the correct Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) code, and have crossed the VMS demarcation line before 0001 hr April 25, 2019, may complete their trip and retain and land scallops caught from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area. Except for vessels that have met these trip completion requirements, no LAGC scallop vessel fishing under federal scallop regulations subject to this closure may fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area.
This closure does not apply to the Limited Access fleet. The Limited Access total allowable catch will be harvested solely by vessels who are participating in the 2019 scallop Research Set-Aside Program and have been issues letters of authorization to conduct compensation fishing activities.
Vessels issued a Limited Access General Category (LAGC) Northern Gulf of Maine (LAGC B) or Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) scallop permit (LAGC A) may continue to fish in the Maine and Massachusetts state waters portion of the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area under the State Waters Exemption program provided they have a valid Maine or Massachusetts state scallop permit and fish only in that state’s waters.
Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) vessel owners please note: An IFQ scallop vessel must have scallop IFQ allocation to fish for scallops at any time or place. For vessels fishing under an IFQ scallop permit (category LAGC A), all scallop pounds landed, including scallops caught under a state waters only trip, will be deducted from the vessel’s IFQ allocation.