An Assessment of Sea Scallop Abundance and Distribution in Georges Bank Closed Area II and the Southern Extension Closure: Final Report
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Advisory Services (MAS)
Marine resource report; 2018-07.
For the sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus, the concepts of space and time have emerged as the basis of an effective management tool. The strategy of closing or limiting activities in certain areas for specific lengths of time has gained support as a method to conserve and enhance the scallop resource. In the last decade, rotational area management has provided a mechanism to protect juvenile scallops from fishing mortality by closing areas based upon scallop abundance and age distribution. Approximately half of the sea scallop industry’s current annual landings come from areas under this rotational harvest strategy. While this represents a management success, it also highlights the extent to which landings are dependent on the success of this strategy. The continued prosperity of scallop spatial management is dependent on both periodic and large incoming year classes, as well as a mechanism to delineate the scale of a recruitment event and subsequently monitor the growth and abundance of these scallops over time. Current and accurate information related to the abundance and distribution of adult and juvenile scallops is essential for managers to respond to changes in resource subunits.
For the present study, we conducted a stratified random survey of the Georges Bank Closed Area II (GBCA II) scallop access area and the GBCA II Extension closure to the south. The primary objective of this survey was the determination of scallop distribution, abundance and biomass in the area. In addition, we characterized the spatially explicit scallop length weight relationship, identified areas of seed and juvenile scallops, quantified species-specific bycatch, provided additional information regarding the size selectivity and efficiency of the New Bedford style commercial dredge and collected data on scallop biology and market condition. We also conducted a tow duration experiment after the conclusion of the survey to assess the impact of a shorten tow duration on scallop catch.
Submitted to: National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Award Number: NA17NMF4540045
Rudders, D., & Roman, S. (2018) An Assessment of Sea Scallop Abundance and Distribution in Georges Bank Closed Area II and the Southern Extension Closure: Final Report. Marine resource report; 2018-07.. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.21220/m2-e27z-2q91