by Don Cuddy, South Coast Today
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 3:27PM EDT
NEW BEDFORD — The scallop catch could be cut up to 30 percent in each of the next two years in what fishermen say would be a heavy blow to the industry.
Deirdre Boelke, a scallop plan coordinator with the New England Fishery Management Council, said the reductions are needed because fewer full-grown scallops are available for harvest.
"The projected catch for 2013 and 2014 is in the neighborhood of 40 million pounds," Boelke told The Standard-Times after a meeting of the council's Scallop Oversight Committee in New Bedford on Tuesday. That's down from just under 57 million pounds in 2011, the latest full-year figures available.
"It's a big hit that will affect everyone," said boat owner William Wells of Seaford, Va., who chairs the scallop advisory panel, made up of industry members. "Each vessel will lose 46,000 pounds and there's about 347 vessels. With prices ranging from $8 to $12.50 a pound, just do the math."
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