Northern Gulf of Maine State Waters Exempted Scallop Fishery Meeting Scheduled

ngom-scallop-mngmnt-areaThe Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) will take public comment on a possible state waters exempted scallop fishery in the Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) scallop management area. A meeting is scheduled for: 5PM – 7PM Thursday, October 20, 2016 Annisquam River Marine Fisheries Station 30 Emerson Ave., Gloucester, MA. DMF was petitioned to apply for a state waters exempted fishery in the NGOM scallop management area (Figure 1). The petition requests an allowance for both Limited Access General Category – Northern Gulf of Maine (LAGC-NGOM) and Limited Access General Category – Individual Fishing Quota (LAGC-IFQ) permit holders to continue fishing for scallops in the MA state waters portion of the NGOM after the NGOM TAC is harvested. Federal regulations allow that “(a) state may be eligible for a state waters exemption if it has a scallop fishery and a scallop conservation program that does not jeopardize the biomass and fishing mortality/effort limit objectives of the Scallop FMP” (50 CFR §648.54(a). The Commonwealth’s primary scalloping grounds exist in Cape Cod Bay and along the backside of the Cape. A secondary state waters scallop fishery is conducted in Ipswich Bay, which is included in the NGOM scallop management area. DMF Statistical Areas 1-4 equate to the Massachusetts state waters portion of the NGOM (Figure 2). DMF will consider all comments (written comments must be received by 5PM on Friday, October 21st) in making a final decision whether or not to submit a request for a NGOM state waters exempted scallop fishery for the 2017 fishing year. NMFS has final approval of any request made. 12:26