Scallop Fisheries Management

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery Off Alaska (scallop FMP) under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Under the scallop FMP, management of all aspects of the scallop fishery, except limited access, is delegated to the State of Alaska. To limit access, the Council developed a scallop licence limitation program. NMFS implemented this program in 2000. NMFS and the Council also developed overfishing definitions and essential fish habitat for scallops. The scallop fishery harvests weathervane scallops (Patinopecten caurinus). State regulations establish guideline harvest levels for different scallop registration areas, fishing seasons, open and closed fishing areas, the scallop observer program, bycatch limits, gear restrictions, and measures to limit processing efficiency (including a ban on the use of mechanical shucking machines and a limitation on crew size). The gear regulations limit vessels to using no more than 2, 15-foot (4.5 m) dredges, except in Cook Inlet (State Registration Area H) where vessels are limited to using a single 6-foot (1.8m) scallop dredge.