Sea scallops from the Atlantic Coast. , Versatile, easy to prepare, and always in season.

From Michael L. Marchetti President .

Hello All,

I hope that at this time, all is well for you since Hurricane Sandy and the following Nor’easter (mini hurricane) “Athena”. Personally, I have about 10 large oak trees that fell, one taking out the wires and eaves. I have quite a bit of chainsaw and chipping work still to do here, and free firewood, but I know many have it much, much worse, hopefully not any of you. Point Judith made out fairly well, but I am not sure anyone to the west can say the same.

It has been a long time since I sent out a newsletter, but we have had a lot of activity come to a close with framework (FW) 24. There are several implications to us all in this document; I will try to cover all the bases best as I can.

But first, I have info to give to you regarding the two RSA projects we have well under way with some members helping produce needed information that is helping us greatly to side step a bycatch problem. The first project is the SMAST Yellowtail Flounder Bycatch avoidance project in which several of us have participated. This is based loosely on the same program they run for the LA fleet in the closed areas to keep the fleet fishing where the scallops are and where there are vastly less yellowtails. Thru this project, we have been able to provide information to the SMAST crew (Cate O’Keefe and Greg Decelles) who were able to give it back to us in a chart format with ‘hotspots’ to avoid and less hot spots we could probably fish in with very little bycatch. We all admit that this first year, was a learning year and we were unsure what the results would be, but that has given way to very good information that previously did not exist about our fishery. In a few words, we are showing that we are a very low bycatch fishery, and I believe that having this data collected and turned back out to the group of us via emails on Skymate and Boatracs has helped to further reduce our bycatch footprint.

Working parallel to this SMAST project, we also have the URI/ Fisheries Specialists (Kathy Castro, Laura Skrobe, Barbara Somers, Chris Parkins) working with us on the Bycatch Characterization of Southern New England LAGC Scallop Fishery. As you may know, this is the project where we take observers from East/West observer company (who are actual Fed observers also) and they log all our catch and bycatch, not just yellowtails. This project has also been successful in showing that our overall bycatch is typically very low with most species, a little higher with skates. This is very important as Winter Flounder and Brill (sand dab) are next on the problem list to be thrown at us. I have been able to use the information gathered in both of these projects at many meetings to “prove” that we are not the problem NMFS thought we were in FW23, and further, I think I have gotten us almost clear of shutdown potential as long as we all pay attention to our bycatch levels. I have asked both groups to re submit these projects to continue next year. I hope to know whether or not we were accepted by February, BUT due to decreased quota available to the whole fishery, there is stronger competition, and higher priorities, let’s hope. Also, we have ordered 5 “data loggers” for recording temperature/ time/date/ depth. I will be sending them out to some. Please zip-tie these on to the dredge behind/ under the pressure plate to track bottom temps. It is not capable of position, so there are no tracking potentials, but the bottom temps may help us learn more about the scallops and bycatch.

Back to FW24,,,,where to start? First off, I am sure by now that you all have heard that we will be getting less quota next year. This will be happening to all in both LA and LAGC fleets as well as the observer program funding and the RSA program. This reduction is due to 3 separate surveys showing less biomass in most areas with poor recruitment in some of the closed areas, AND a strong juvenile class in the mid-Atlantic that needs to be protected for a couple of years. Expect to get approximately 70%-75% of what you had this year….NOW THIS COMES WITH A WARNING, when you get your quota in March, it will look like the exact same amount, this is not a mistake, due to the fact that the time it takes them to implement management actions, it will be most likely June when you get a correction letter, so PLEASE PLAN APPROPRIATELY!! Due to the fact that we are IFQ fishery, if you go over, that amount will be deducted from you the following year with possible penalties. I cannot stress enough to pay attention to your quota next year. Fortunately, we will see the quotas increase over the next few years, so that by 2015 we SHOULD be at the same level as this year, and there is a possibility of it going up further. I will try to attach a document to this email that will show all this as well as post it on the website…

Another hot point regarding quota is that the yellowtail (YTF) is very sharply cut as well. Particularly harsh cuts in the Georges area, but also 30% in the Southern New England (SNE) and Mid Atlantic (MA). We will get most of what we need as a fleet in the SNE/MA, but the guys in GB are in for trouble. I am hoping that doesn’t translate into more effort down here from boats that usually only fish the GB areas. Due to this YTF crunch, it was of the utmost importance that we do our best to prove that we are a very low bycatch fishery, which we have done. We MUST do our best to continue on this track.

As I said earlier, our RSA projects show us to have very low bycatch rates, to the order of 1.8% or so. If you remember last year we were facing a possible closure AM (Accountability Measure) due to YTF bycatch that was calculated erroneously. Well, an AM is required by the new Magnusun-Stevens Act, I can’t get us out of that, but what we did get was a 3% bycatch number that if we stay below it, then we will be just fine. If we have overages, there is a schedule of closures, but most likely we would be looking at March and April at worst, but again, if we stay at the 1.8% range then we are well in the clear. Please make every effort to remain conscientious as to YTF bycatch at all times, especially if you get an observer! I did argue the fact that we have always been under the 5% bycatch “other” rule in the groundfish plan and deserved to remain at that number. Council Member Dave Goethel suggested that we can appeal to have it raised to that level if we need in the next action next year.

Observers, There has been a need to get data as to our catch and bycatch into the system. The only way to do this that will be accepted is to carry observers. Our RSA projects are a beginning of this and do provide crucial info, but they want to get federal observers on our boats. They passed a provision to do this on FW24. We will most likely need to call in our weekly fishing plans so they can send someone potentially. If you are selected to have one on a trip, you will be billed approximately $750 by the observer company. You will get a 150lb reimbursement added to your quota for each trip you take an observer, PROVIDED there is enough quota in the fund. They ran out several years ago, but have been running under lately, so hopefully this will not be an issue for us, but I did argue that point as well as the possible financial hardship to some with smaller quotas or who regularly choose to land less for their day of fishing. On the other hand, 150lbs is double the amount needed to pay the bill, so you come ahead to a degree.

As far as YTF bycatch and the trawl fishery go, they are going to be held to a 10% bycatch rule, which is a cut from their estimated 20-25%. They claim it is an accounting mistake and that they are well under these numbers, and that well may be the case. Better observing will tell us, and if they are indeed as low as they say, then they will be well under the 10% anyhow. Considering we are at 3%, I thought that was a gift.

If there is anything that is a “bright spot” in FW24, you will soon be able to transfer quota mid -season, regardless of whether or not you have landed any quota. This is a bit of easing of the rules to help make less hardships for some, especially if you have a mid- season issue. NMFS will craft the rules and hopefully mail them to you by June. One thing we can count our blessings on is that we are all still able to fish in our home region, I do not see any immediate threats to that, but who knows what FW25 will bring this year.

Finally, I have to make the “plea” for dues. I have not really asked in a while and I know I am late for this year. Some have found me on the dock and paid up, reminding me to get at it. So, if you can spare the $100, I would greatly appreciate it. I do not spend any, except for accounting fees and website fees. I will be using the website a little more now I hope as well as writing letters and updates. Also, since this letter goes out to several who are scallop fishermen in our area, but not technically members, and have directly benefitted from our RSA projects, I would ask that they see if they, as well as regular members who also directly benefitted, would feel generous enough to throw the association a little extra. I will post the address below, I thank you in advance.

As Always, If you have any questions, or if I left anything out, please feel free to call!

Good Luck, Happy Fishing!

Michael L. Marchetti, Pres. Eastern New England Scallop Association

3119 Post road, Wakefield RI, 02879



Last updated 9.4.2015

NOTICE :The Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island is looking for an Executive Director. Please click here for full job description and details of how to apply. Deadline for applications is October 25,2015. Click here for full job description.


Greater Atlantic Region Bulletin

NOAA Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930

Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery
Management Measures for Fishing Year 2015
Small Entity Compliance Guide

Effective Date: March 1, 2015

The following information is important for planning your scallop fishing operations for the upcoming fishing year. Please read through each section carefully, and distribute this letter to your vessel operators. This summary is not a substitute for the actual regulations, and we encourage you to review the full text of the regulations,


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