For Immediate Release - July 18, 2013

New Regulations Affecting the Commercial Harvest of Sea Scallops in State Waters

The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) has enacted a suite of state waters sea scallop regulations (322 CMR 4.10 and 6.05) that codified previously existing permit conditions. This action implements certain gear modifications; possession and landing limits; and catch disposition requirements as regulation.

With regards to gear, any commercial fisherman using a sea scallop dredge in state waters must use dredge rings with a minimum inside diameter of 4 inches and a twine top with at least 10-inch square or diamond mesh. These regulations reduce the harvest of juvenile sea scallops and groundfish bycatch and complement federal regulations affecting the sea scallop fishery in adjacent federal waters.

In addition, a 200 pound shucked sea scallop or 2,000 pounds whole in-shell sea scallop possession and landing limit has been established for commercial fishermen fishing in state waters; the possession of sea scallops in excess of these limits is prohibited. Compliance with the whole in-shell sea scallop trip limit will be determined through a volumetric equivalency: one level-filled standard fish tote is the equivalent to 100 pounds of whole in-shell sea scallops. For mixed landings of in-shell and shucked sea scallops, the weight of whole in-shell sea scallops is multiplied by 0.10 to determine its equivalent shucked sea scallop weight. Federal sea scallop permit holders may possess sea scallops in excess of these limits provided the dredge gear is stowed and they are transiting state waters for the purpose of landing their catch.  

Lastly, it is now unlawful by state regulation (in addition to federal regulation) for commercial fishermen who have only a state permit to fish in federal waters. Moreover, the discard of live sea scallops is prohibited in the harbors and estuaries known as the inshore restricted waters and defined at 322 CMR 4.02(2).

For a copy of state sea scallop regulations, please contact Jared Silva by e-mail (jared.silva@state.ma.us) or by phone (617-626-1534). For more information regarding the state’s management of sea scallops, please visit our website:

www.mass.gov/marinefisheries