Gulf of Maine Sea Scallop Surveys Planned

COURTESY OF NOAA

BARNSTABLE –Sea scallops in the Gulf of Maine will be the focus of surveys this summer, initiated by NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council.

The council needs updated scallop biomass estimates from the area to support upcoming management decisions.

At their request, NOAA Fisheries will add portions of the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area to two existing surveys already planned on Georges Bank.

The additional work will be done through the Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program under two current grants.

The Coonamessett Farm Foundation will survey portions of Stellwagen Bank and Jeffreys Ledge with the Habcam optical imaging system, complemented by the deployment of a scallop survey dredge to collect biological samples.

The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology will conduct a high-resolution drop-camera survey of a portion of Stellwagen Bank.

These additional surveys will generate scallop biomass estimates that will be provided to the council to support the development of Gulf of Maine management measures later this year.

Research set-aside programs are unique to federal fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region.

No federal funds are provided to support the research.

Instead, projects are awarded pounds of fish or sea scallops that have been “set aside” from the overall fishery allocation under the fishery management plan for this purpose.

Successful applicants partner with the fishing industry to harvest their set-aside award to generate funds for the research.

There are active research set-aside programs for Atlantic sea scallops, Atlantic herring, and monkfish.

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