Scallop Fishery Going Strong

Photo courtesy of the Portland Press Harald.

America’s harvest of scallops is increasing to near-record levels at a time when the shellfish are in high demand and the value of the fishery has surged in recent years. Sea scallops, harvested mostly by boats operating in the Atlantic Ocean, are one of the most valuable fisheries in America. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the harvest topped 58.2 million pounds last year, the highest total since 2011 and the fifth-highest in history, according to federal statistics going back to 1945. American scallops were worth $532.9 million at the docks last year. That’s the third-highest figure on record and more than $100 million higher than the 2014 total. The scallop industry is thriving as a result of years of conservative management that has allowed the valuable shellfish to grow. Federal fishing managers are working on potential changes to the rules governing the scallop industry that could go into effect in 2021. Fishermen who operate small boats are hopeful for the management changes will work for vessels of all sizes.