Upcoming Scallop Season Looks Promising in Cobscook Bay

ELLSWORTH — Maine scallopers will once again have a 70-day season to drag or dive for the tasty bivalve that, in 2010, put about $1.49 million into fishermen’s pockets.

The 2011-2012 season will open at sunrise on Saturday, Dec. 17, and close at sunset on Saturday, March 31. During December, fishing will be prohibited on Thursdays, Fridays and Christmas Day, a Sunday. During January and February next year, fishing will be prohibited on both Saturdays and Sundays.

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Advisory Council approved the regulation setting the 70-day season and closed days at a meeting late last month. The council followed the recommendations of DMR’s Scallop Advisory Council (SAC) adopted last May.

As in the past, selecting the appropriate days to close was a contentious issue.

Some fishermen preferred a Monday-Friday schedule with all weekends closed. Then DMR Commissioner Norman Olsen favored having at least one weekend day open to recreational divers or fishermen with jobs that wouldn’t let them fish on a straight five-day schedule. There were also some fishermen who said that their buyers favored Friday closures for market reasons.

In any event, Downeast scallopers got some good news last week when DMR released the results of its 2010 Cobscook Bay scallop study. The survey covered all of Cobscook Bay and the fishing grounds at the mouth of the St. Croix River that marks the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick.

Results of the survey look promising.

According to DMR, stock of harvestable scallops (at least 4 inches in shell height) in Cobscook Bay was at its highest level since the annual surveys began in 2002. The scallops collected in the survey also were meatier than those collected in 2009.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

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. [email protected]