Atlantic Sea Scallop Regulations

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May 25, 2017

Nantucket Lightship Access Area Closes May 30 to Scallop LAGC-IFQ Permit Holders

We are closing the Nantucket Lightship Access Area to the limited access general category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) fleet on May 30, 2017. The area will remain closed to the LAGC IFQ fleet for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year through March 31, 2018.
Under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, once the LAGC IFQ fleet reaches its annual limit on the number of trips into the Nantucket Lightship Access Area (837 trips in 2017), we are required to close the area to the LAGC IFQ fleet for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year to prevent overharvest. We project that the LAGC IFQ fleet has reached its 2017 limit of 837 trips allocated for the Nantucket Lightship Access Area.
Vessels that have complied with the observer notification requirements, declared a trip into the Nantucket Lightship Scallop Access Area using the correct Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) code, and crossed the VMS demarcation line before 0001, May 30, 2017, may complete their trip and retain and land scallops caught from the Nantucket Lightship Access Area.
For more information, read the notice as filed in the Federal Register this afternoon and the permit holder bulletin on our website.
Questions? Contact Shannah Jaburek at 978-282-8456 or

Effective Date: March 23, 2017 at  4:15 p.m

Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery: Limited Access Scallop Vessels; Updated Allocations for the Remainder of the 2017 Fishing Year and Other New Measures

Closed Area II (CA II) is closed beginning August 15th through November 15th.
Elephant Trunk Flex Area is closed July 1st through September 30th.
In addition, Closed Area I (CA I) and Closed Area II (CA II) Extension Access Area remains closed for the 2017 Fishing Year.
Also, Vessels are prohibited from transiting the Elephant Trunk Flex Area (ETFA) when on a DAS trip OR trip into another Access Area
March 22, 2017

NOAA Fisheries Announces Management Measures for the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery for Fishing Year 2017

NOAA Fisheries announces that the final rule to set management measures for the Atlantic Sea Scallop fishery for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year (March 1, 2017-                   March 31, 2018) will file in the Federal Register and become effective tomorrow at               4:15 pm.
Framework 28:
  • Sets annual catch limits for both the limited access and limited access general   category (LAGC) fleets, including days-at-sea and allocations for the sea scallop  access areas. Limited access allocations are similar to previous years, while LAGC individual fishing quota (IFQ) allocations receive a 44 percent decrease from 2016;
  • Revises the way we allocate catch to the LAGC IFQ fleet to more accurately            reflect the spatial management of the scallop fishery;
  • Opens the Elephant Trunk Flex, Nantucket Lightship, and Closed Area 2               Access Areas to scallop fishing and allows vessels the flexibility to fish some Mid Atlantic Access Area (MAAA) pounds in either the Elephant Trunk Flex Access          Area or the MAAA; and
  • Implements a 50-bushel shell stock possession limit for limited access vessels      inshore of the days-at-sea demarcation line north of 42° 20′ N. lat.
For more information, permit holder letters for both limited access and LAGCvessels are available on our website. The rule is expected to file in the Federal Register tomorrow afternoon at 4:15.
Geographic Information System (GIS) files with the updated Scallop Rotational Area boundaries will be available on the GARFO GIS website and the NOAA GeoPlatform        once the final rule publishes.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or



March 13, 2017

 NOAA Fisheries Announces Transfer of Yellowtail Flounder Quota from Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery to Groundfish Fishery
NOAA Fisheries is transferring unused Georges Bank and Southern New England/              Mid Atlantic yellowtail flounder bycatch from the Atlantic sea scallop fishery to the    commercial groundfish fishery for use until the end of the groundfish fishing year,               April 30, 2017.
Each year, we evaluate the yellowtail flounder bycatch in the scallop fishery by January 15. When the scallop fishery is expected to catch less than 90 percent of its Georges Bank or Southern New England/Mid Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-annual catch limit (sub-ACL) by the end of the scallop fishing year (February 28, 2017), we reduce the scallop fishery         sub-ACL for these stocks to the amount projected to be caught, and increase the groundfish fishery sub-ACL for these stocks up to the amount reduced from the scallop fishery.
This adjustment helps provide additional fishing opportunities on Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid Atlantic yellowtail flounder stocks, while not threatening an overage of the annual catch limits.
Based on the current projections, we are transferring 39.8 mt of Georges Bankyellowtail flounder and 15.2 mt of Southern New England/Mid Atlantic yellowtail flounder from the scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery.
This transfer is based on the highest estimate of total scallop bycatch to account for uncertainty, and we expect this will minimize any risk of ACL overages.



March 17, 2017

NOAA and New England Fishery Management Council Announce 17 Projects to be Funded Through Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program

NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the New England Fishery Management Council are pleased to announce 17 projects are recommended for 2017-2018 funding through the Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program.
This research will contribute to the management of one of the nation’s most valuable commercial fisheries. Read more here.
Contact (978 281-9326.




November 2, 2016

NOAA Fisheries Announces New Start Date for the Scallop Fishing Year and New Specifications Process

NOAA Fisheries announces two changes to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan through Amendment 19:

  1. Change to the fishing year: Beginning in 2018, the scallop fishing year will start on  April 1 (changed from March 1)
  2. Creation of a new specifications process (setting the year’s catch limits): The Council will now be able to set the annual specifications through a more streamlined process. This will help get catch limits in place by the start of the fishing year and reduce the need for default measures.

Read the final rule implementing Amendment 19 as filed today in the Federal Register, and  get more details from the permit holder bulletin.
Please note that the 2017 fishing year will start on March 1. 


Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or jennifer.goebel@noaa.go

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