CHART BY DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES

DMR widens closures to conserve scallop stock



CHART BY DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES
With the emergency closure last Saturday of the waters at the mouth of the Union River, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has now banned scallop fishing in most of upper Blue Hill Bay.

ELLSWORTH — The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has shut down fishing in three large areas of the state’s waters in an effort to ensure that there will be still be enough scallops to spawn successfully and continue rebuilding the resource.

Effective Saturday, all scallop fishing was prohibited in the bay at the mouth of the Union River, in Whiting and Denny’s bays far Downeast and in a portion of extreme western Penobscot Bay at the lower end of the Mussel Ridge Channel including Port Clyde and Tenants Harbor.

According to DMR, when the season opened last December draggers fishing in the waters at the mouth of the Union River, between Newbury Neck and the Trenton Shore and north of Bartlett Island in upper Blue Hill Bay were able to land more than five bushels of scallops for every hour that they towed their drags. About 60 boats fished in the area, primarily off Oak Point in Trenton, during the first week of the season.

A week later, the rate of landings had dropped some 60 percent and by the third week of the season, fewer than 10 boats remained in the area. Now, DMR scallop resource coordinator Trisha De Graaf said in a detailed explanation of the department’s decision, most of the fishermen still working in the area need a full day to land their 15-gallon limit, reduced a few weeks ago from the 20-gallon limit when the season opened. For some, a day’s fishing doesn’t produce even that.

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. srappapo[email protected]