Scallopers will fish closer to home in 2016
CAPE COD SMALL-BOAT SCALLOP FISHERMEN APPLAUD
OPENING OF LOCAL SCALLOP GROUNDS
New Regulations Mean Safer Fishing Close to Home
(Chatham, Mass...May 5, 2016) On May 3, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service released regulations that open the Nantucket Lightship Access Area to New England’s small-boat scallop fleet. The area, which has been closed since 2014, is near Cape Cod fishing ports and will provide an opportunity for Cape scallopers to catch their quotas while coming home each night. The New England Fishery Management Council chose to open the Lightship in response to reassurances from council scientists that there weren’t any conservation concerns with limited amounts of fishing there.
The 485 trips in the Lightship will make a big difference to small-boat scallopers in New England. Not only will they be able to fish from their home ports, but they will use this opportunity to work with UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to conduct research aimed at increasing oversight, avoiding groundfish, and preventing the practice of sorting through scallops in order to keep only the biggest, most valuable ones.
“NOAA’s announcement is great news to small-boat fishermen throughout Massachusetts – and on Cape Cod and the Islands, in particular,” said U.S. Congressman William Keating (MA-9). “These fishermen will have further opportunity to fish locally and, most importantly, sustainably. I look forward to the ongoing cooperation between industry, scientists and regulators to ensure that we continue to make substantial gains in transparency and viability.”
“The small-boat fleet represents the best of our maritime history, and our best hope for a sustainable, community-based future,” said Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich). “This decision supports that hope.”
“485 trips may not sound like much, but it’ll allow us to fish closer to home and our families instead of traveling down to the Mid-Atlantic and fishing out of New Jersey or Maryland this summer,” said Cam Smith, scalloper, fishing vessel (f/v) Three Sons out of Harwich, Mass.
“Our group of scallopers is committed to working together to make this fishery better,” said Bob Keese, scallop fisherman, f/v Beggar’s Banquet out of Chatham, Mass. “We think this is a great chance for us to study and improve our impacts on the resource.”
Read more about the campaign to get these fishing grounds open: