Public hearing held on pending scallop fishing regulations

8:06 PM, Sep 5, 2013   |    comments
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The last of three public hearings on the proposed new rules for the upcoming scallop fishing season was held tonight at the Ellsworth town hall building.

The Department of Marine Resources is proposing the complete closure of 12 scallop fishing areas off the Maine coast. They also want to set a a daily catch limit of 15 gallons of scallops; that's down from 20 gallons last season.

Representatives from the department say this type of new regulation is needed to keep the Maine's scallop population thriving. But many fisherman are angry about the proposed rules, especially those who live in the areas that are likely to be closed completely.

Long time scallop fisherman Jim Wotton believes regulation is necessary, but the rules can be damaging for some.

"Part of the problem is if the area just outside your harbor is closed, you have to go some place else," Wotton said. "Not everyone has the types of boats and the size to be able to do that in the wintertime."

Tonight's meeting allowed area fisherman to air their grievances to those who are drawing up the regulations. The goal is to try and find a solution that will benefit both parties.

"It's a balance, it's a delicate balance," said Tricia De Graaf of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. "Trying to make sure I look out for the fisherman's needs in the future, while allowing them to have an income right now."

If you did not make it to tonight's meeting and you would like to make a comment about the proposed regulations, you can call the Department of Marine Resources at 624-6550. The comment period ends September 16.



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