City Scallopers Help Manage Stocks off Massachusetts Coast

Scallopers Videotape Fishing Grounds for Annual Survey
By Becky W. Evans, Standard-Times Staff Writer

NEW BEDFORD — Two city scallopers are taking video surveys of the ocean floor this week to gather information about the size and abundance of scallop stocks on fishing grounds off the Massachusetts coast.
The surveys of the Great South Channel and the southern end of Georges Bank, known as Closed Area II, are part of a wider study that the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology conducts each year. The video project, which began in 2003, is an annual mapping of the seafloor from Virginia to the Hague Line in Georges Bank. Survey results have helped fishing regulators better manage scallop stocks.
“The number one purpose it to estimate the size distribution and density of scallops,” said Kevin Stokesbury, an SMAST professor and chairman of the school’s Department of Fisheries Oceanography.
During this year’s survey, scientists will be looking to see if there is a new bloom or “pulse” of young scallops that will help maintain the current healthy stock of adult scallops, he said. Such pulses occur about every four years, he said.
Scientists will also use the video surveys to locate areas with an abundance of mature scallops that should be harvested before they grow too old, Dr. Stokesbury said.
The city’s scallop industry donates vessels, fuels, food and other supplies to help scientists conduct the surveys, he said. Each vessel receives $500 to pay the captain and crew. The study is funded by a congressional earmark.
Contact Becky W. Evans at
June 06, 2008

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