AUGUSTA – Maine commercial fishermen might get more chances to drag for scallops next season, if a proposal by one coastal lawmaker gets approval of the legislature.
Winter months are the slow months in the lobster industry. But it’s the busy time for scallop fishing, which serves as an income bridge for many lobster men. Particularly, for those who don’t have a federal license to fish outside of three-miles. That’s where most of the fishing is done during scallop season. To them it makes a lot more sense to rig up.
Representative Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, said “Another bill dealing with scallop fishing would change the licensing process so it would be similar to a lobstering license, known as an owner-operator license.” He added “The owner of the boat has to be the license holder and has to be present when the harvesting is done.”
Kumiega believes the scallop fishermen are harvesting five to ten times greater amounts than a decade ago. He stated “Probably a combination of mother nature recovering and careful management.”
The future for the industry is looking good. Kumiega stated “We’ve been in a situation where the harvest has increased every year for the last several years.”
While no one knows for certain what caused the drastic decline in the scallop population a decade ago. Many believe know proper management of the fishery can only help the industry.