By Steve Urbon
April 23. 2015 2:20PM
NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford is the top dollar value fishing port in the nation once again in 2013, according to the Icelandic bank that compiles the figures each year.
Islandsbanki (as written in Icelandic) totaled up $389 million in seafood value being brought in by New Bedford boats, most of that scallops. Groundfish counts for very little in this city after quota cutbacks and declines in stocks.
Scallop landings were off in 2013 by 8 percent, the report said, because of a decline in landings. It is the 14th consecutive year that New Bedford topped the list.
It was welcome news at the New England Fishery Management Council, where scallop industry advocates are asking for for the opening of some closed “essential habitat” areas in Georges Bank and the closure of other areas.
Dr. Brian Rothschild, professor emeritus of marine science and now head of the Center for Sustainable Fisheries, said “It’s really exciting to be in this position for several years in a row.”
Seafood consultant James Kendall welcomed the news but expressed dismay that scallops accounted for almost all of the revenue. “We’ve got to get groundfish value and landings back up there,” he said.
John Quinn of Dartmouth, who sits on the council, said that the top value port ranking is all the more reason to manage and harvest scallops as effectively as has been done. “We need to see that it continues.”
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By Steve Urbon