Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 11, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, October 11, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, October 11, 2018
Four scallop drag licenses to be awarded through lottery
Applications close October 26
by Anne Berleant
Fishermen who want to drag for scallops but lack a commercial license may get their chance this season—it will just take a little luck.
Four scallop drag license applications will be chosen at random, with two licenses awarded to individuals between the age of 18-30 and two awarded to individuals 31 years of age or older. The lottery system for awarding new licenses was approved by the Department of Marine Resources earlier this year, after the state legislature enacted new laws intended to open the scallop fishery in 2017.
The DMR then established regulations around a lottery system with a 2:1 to exit-entry drag license ratio and a 1:1 ratio for dive licenses.
This year, no dive licenses were retired so none will be issued for the 2018-19 season.
Eligibility requirements include being a Maine resident at least 18 years old not currently licensed to dive or drag for scallops with no license suspension by the DMR within the last seven years for a marine resources offense.
An applicant must also hold, or have held in the past, any commercial license issued by the Department of Marine Resources (under 12 M.R.S Part 9), or currently or in the past crew on board an active commercial scallop vessel.
For detailed information on entering the lottery and to apply online, visit https://www.maine.gov/dmr/news-details.html. For additional information, call the DMR at 624-6550, and select Option 2.
The 2018-19 scallop season is not yet finalized but, as proposed, it looks similar to last year for Zone 2, which includes Isle au Haut Bay, Upper Penobscot Bay, Swans Island and Fenchman’s Bay: a 15 gallon daily possession limit, a 60-day season for draggers, starting December 3 and ending March 28, 2019, and a 70-day season for divers, starting December 1 and ending April 13, 2019.
In 2017, over 6.6 million pounds of scallops were harvested in Maine, about 3 percent of the state’s commercial landings, for a $9.3 million value, according to data compiled by the DMR.