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Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery: Revisions to the State Waters Exemption Program for the Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Scallop Management Area

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
October 24, 2017

Effective Date: October 25, 2017

Limited Access General Category (LAGC) Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) and LAGC NGOM federally permitted vessels that also hold a Maine or Massachusetts state commercial scallop permit may fish solely in their respective state waters after the Federal NGOM total allowable catch (TAC) has been reached and the area has closed for the remainder of the fishing year. 

Vessels that hold both a LAGC NGOM Federal permit and a Maine state scallop permit were issued this exemption in 2015.

All other federally permitted scallop vessels (i.e., vessels with limited access and LAGC incidental permits) are prohibited from retaining, possessing, and landing scallops from within the NGOM management area, in both Federal and state waters, once the NGOM hard TAC is fully harvested.  No vessel may fish for scallops in the Federal portion of the NGOM once the TAC is harvested.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this exemption apply to LAGC IFQ and NGOM-permitted vessels in other states?

No.  Maine and Massachusetts are the only states that applied for this exemption.  After review of both Maine and Massachusetts’ current scallop fishery regulations, we have determined that allowing these exemptions would have no impact on the effectiveness of Federal management measures for the scallop fishery overall or within the NGOM management area.

What other state waters exemptions apply to Maine?

In addition to this NGOM exemption, we have exempted Maine from two other Federal regulations:

·       Limited access scallop vessels may fish in state waters outside of scallop days-at-sea while the federal NGOM Scallop Management Area is open; and

·       Limited access and LAGC individual fishing quota and NGOM vessels are exempt from Federal minimum twine top mesh size regulations.

For small entity compliance guides, this bulletin complies with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996.  This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Region.