Scallop draggers unhappy with state's cutoff in Cobscook

6:35 PM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
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MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Many scallop draggers near Cobscook Bay are frustrated as their fishing season came to an abrupt end last week.

Maine's Department of Marine Resources announced dragging in Cobscook and much of the surrounding area would come to an end. Typically the scallop season in Cobscook Bay goes until mid March.

Officials say they shortened the season because scallops have been over-harvested in Cobscook Bay this year. Last year draggers pulled in 380,000 pounds of scallops in and around the bay. As of last month 270,000 pounds were brought in.

Officials with the department say a lot of scallops were harvested in a short time, most likely because there are more boats dragging than in years past.

"There's only so much biomass to go around amongst all these fishermen," said Trisha Degraaf, who is a marine resource coordinator with D.M.R., "and when you have a higher number of participants that resource gets harvested much quicker."

Yet many scallop draggers in the region say they disagree with the state's assessment. 

"There's an abundance of scallops," said Danny Fitzsimmons of Lubec, "no reason to be shut down...You need it {the season} to pay your bills...it's like somebody telling someone in any profession you're done."

Marine resources officials say they are working on a plan to reduce the number of boats in Cobscook Bay for next season. They expect the scallop population to be bigger then.

NEWS CENTER

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