ELLSWORTH – The Department of Marine Resources has scheduled three public hearings on its proposed dates for the upcoming 2019-2020 scallop fishing season.
The first hearing is scheduled for today, Thursday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. at DMR headquarters in Augusta.
On Monday, Sept. 16, DMR will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. at Ellsworth City Hall and the following night has scheduled a 6 p.m. hearing at the University of Maine at Machias.
The proposed rulemaking maintains daily possession limits of 15 gallons of shucked scallop meats throughout the state except in Cobscook Bay, where the possession limit is 10 gallons.
For Zone 1, a 60-day season for draggers would begin on Dec. 9 and the last day of the season would be March 26, 2020. A 60-day season for divers would start on Nov. 14 and the last day of the season would be April 30, 2020.
For Zone 2, from eastern Penobscot Bay to Cobscook Bay, a 70-day season for draggers would start on Dec. 2, and the last day of the season would be March 31, 2020. A 70-day season for divers would start on Nov. 18 and end April 29, 2020.
For Zone 3—Cobscook Bay— a 50-day season for draggers would begin on Dec. 2 and end March 25, 2020. A 50-day season for divers would begin on Dec. 5 and the last day of the season would be March 28, 2020.
The proposed rule also establishes several limited access areas where fishing would be allowed only on certain days of the week. DMR would maintain several “targeted closures” based on depletion, high concentrations of seed or sublegal scallops or the presence of spat-producing scallops.
This proposed rule also would remove the 8-foot, 6-inch drag size limit in Blue Hill Bay and allow fishermen to use any size drag up to 10 feet, 6 inches.
This rule also would change the allowable harvest hours to 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and eliminate the prohibition of fishing between sunset and sunrise.