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New Management Measures for Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery


NOAA Fisheries today approved a number of new measures for the scallop fishery for the 2013 fishing year. With support from the scallop industry, to protect young scallops and maximize future harvest potential, quotas for 2013 and 2014 are being reduced and two special access areas in the Mid-Atlantic will remain closed.

Key measures include: revised catch limits, adjustments to the time of year when the scallop fishery can fish in the Georges Bank scallop access areas, maintenance of current closures of the Elephant Trunk and Delmarva Access Areas, refinements to the scallop fishery yellowtail flounder accountability measures, adjustments to the industry-funded observer program, and other changes that will provide more flexibility in the management of the individual fishing quota program.  Specifically, the individual fishing quota program will now have more opportunity to transfer unused quota among vessels.  Up until now, vessels were only able to trade quota once in a given fishing year.

To improve effectiveness of scallop fishery accountability measures, if the scallop fishery’s annual allocation of yellowtail flounder is exceeded, we also approved a recommendation by the New England Fishery Management Council to implement accountability measures in Year 3 if reliable information is not available mid-year to determine if an overage occurred, rather than in Year 2 (i.e., the year following the overage).  This will provide enough time to collect complete catch information from both the groundfish and the scallop industry.

Since implementation of these final management measures was delayed, default catch limits went into effect on March 1, when the scallop fishing year began. The default catch limits were higher than catch limits now going into effect for 2013. So, the Council  also recommended various payback measures to protect young sea scallops and prevent localized overfishing. To ensure that this does not occur again in 2014, more precautionary default catch limits for 2014 will be implemented through the measures approved today.

New Framework 24 Management Measures for the LAGC Fishery and Updated Allocations for the Remainder of the 2013 Fishing Year
Effective Date: May 20, 2013.   To read more about these management measures, click here.

Updated Allocations for the Remainder of the 2013 Fishing Year
Effective Date: May 20, 2013. To read more about these management measures, click here.

To review the final rule for these actions please click here.

Scallop Information Sheet containing 2013 quotas

Feature story containing rationale for quota reductions from a scallop fishermen's point of view on Northeast Region website. 

Additional information on these and other scallop recent actions are posted on our website at:

If you have a question about any of the measures, please call our Sustainable Fisheries Division staff at (978) 281-9315. They can answer your questions or direct you to other Northeast Regional Office staff that can help you.