Dec. 1 – Scallop season opens with high hopes

smr_scalloping-042After an eight-month hiatus when, like summer tourists, the only scallops in local stores are “from away,” the Maine scallop fishing season is finally opening, at least for a handful of harvesters. All along the coastline, licensed scallop divers are allowed to start fishing for the succulent bivalves today, Thursday, Dec. 1. Dragger fishermen will have to wait to wet their gear until next Monday, Dec. 5. The season opens on an optimistic note. Over the past five years, scallop landings have increased steadily, from just over 175,000 pounds of scallop meats (about 1.5 million pounds in the shell) during 2011 to almost 453,000 pounds in 2015. According to Trisha Cheney, a resource management coordinator at the Department of Marine Resources, 635 harvesters—77 divers and 558 draggers–had licenses to fish for scallops last year and are eligible to get licenses in 2016. Of that group, Cheney said, 445 licensed harvesters actually participated in the fishery. There were, she said, 52 active divers, 373 active draggers and 20 “unknown” harvesters who DMR can’t identify as working in either category. In 2009, only 168 harvesters fished for scallops in Maine. Read the story here 21:32