Commerical scalloper, photos courtesy the Coonamessett Farm Foundation.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service is considering extended closures and quota cuts to the scallop fishery that some say should benefit the fishery in the long-term.

NOAA is currently reviewing several new management measures developed by the New England Fishery Management Council, including proposed reductions in quotas for the 2013 fishing year and measures to protect young Atlantic sea scallops.

The New England Fishery Management Council recommended that, beginning in May 2013, quotas for the Atlantic sea scallop limited access fishery be reduced by 35 percent compared to 2012, and quotas for fishermen participating in the individual fishing quota program would be reduced by 32 percent.

Some fishermen would also see the number of trips they can take into special access areas reduced by half in 2013, and cuts in the amount of fish they are allowed to keep on each fishing trip. Officials say these decreases are necessary to avoid overharvesting. Two special access areas would remain closed to protect young sea scallops in the Mid-Atlantic. NOAA closed both areas in 2012 under emergency action, at the request of the fishing industry.

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