January 29, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Pre register for the state water scallop season. I’ll tell you more after this…
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Last year legislators re opened state waters for weather-vane scallops. It has always been a smaller fishery; looking back to the late eighties and into the early nineties under 20 boats dredged for scallops around Alaska.
“A lot of people came up from the East Coast and started fishing in Alaska. There were probably several waves of them back in the 60’s, but then again in the 1990’s”
Wayne Donaldson is the Regional Manager for shellfish and groundfish with the Alaska Department of Fish in Game in Kodiak. As he reflects on the fishery, he says it stayed open year round.
“ It was sort of the exploratory phase of the fishery. Then as time went on we learned more and more about scallop resources and started defining scallop beds, and so the fishery started getting ratcheted down. So part of the fishery development was limiting efforts in the fishery.”
It has been a limited vessel entry fishery for almost 15 years. This allowed only nine boats to scallop fish. Until now…
“Now what’s going to happen in state waters in these four areas, Yakutat, Prince William Sound, Shelikof, and out toward Dutch Harbor, beginning this July when the season opens any vessel will be able to participate that purchases a permit card for state water scallops and pre season registers with ADF&G before the 1st of April.”
So what does it take to scallop fish?
“You would need a boat that has enough horse power to pull a drag a scallop dredge along the bottom of the ocean. And you need enough deck space to haul the dredge up and lay it on the deck and allow the contents to be emptied out and to sort out the scallops. But we have had large 58 footers participate in the past, so we will see how small of boats decide to jump into it.”
The more common sized vessels are 70 to 80 feet. Donaldson says that there has been some interest but no participants yet. He hopes to see more activity as it get closer to April.
“Since it is all new we really encourage anybody who is thinking of getting into the fishery to give us a call or stop by to learn more about it so we can go over how the regulations are structured.”