Scallop licenses up for grabs in lottery

ELLSWORTH — Winner, winner, scallop dinner?

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is holding two upcoming lotteries for a total of 14 available scallop licenses. The agency on Oct. 29 announced that it would extend the application period by a week over fears that the lottery was not well enough publicized.

There are two separate lotteries planned, one for 10 available scallop drag licenses and one for four available scallop dive licenses. The number of available licenses is based on the number of existing licenses that were retired in 2019.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 p.m.

Of the available drag licenses, five will be awarded to harvesters between the ages of 18 and 30. The other half will go to individuals 31 or older.

The four dive licenses also will be split among the two age groups.

To be eligible for the scallop license lottery, prospective licensees must meet the following criteria:

• Be a Maine resident age 18 or older.

• Hold or have held any commercial license issued by the Department of Marine Resources, or presently or previously crewed onboard an active commercial scallop vessel.

• Has not been convicted or adjudicated of a marine resources offense that resulted in a license suspension within the last seven years.

• Does not already hold a scallop dive or drag license in the state.

Anyone meeting those criteria may enter either, or both, lotteries. However, applicants should be aware that they will not be able to change their license type after the fact. A dive license cannot be changed to a drag license or vice versa. In other words, only enter a lottery you want to win. 

DMR established the lotteries in 2018, following years of discussion on how best to allow new entrants to the fishery.

This is the second year that a scallop dive license lottery has been held. Harvesters who entered the lottery last year will have two chances this time around. Newcomers will have one chance.

This is the third year that a scallop drag license lottery has been held. Applicants get an additional chance for every consecutive year that they enter the lottery. Those entering for the first time this year will have one chance.

Applications may be filled out online at or a paper application may be completed at the DMR offices in the Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta. DMR will not be accepting mailed applications.

Cyndi Wood

Cyndi Wood

Managing Editor
Cyndi is managing editor of The Ellsworth American. The Ellsworth native joined the staff of The American in 2007 as a reporter.
Cyndi Wood

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