Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date



Marine Resource Report No. 2023-6


The U.S. Atlantic sea scallop fishery is supported by an extensive research program, referred to as a Research Set-aside (RSA) program. The RSA program administers a competitive grants program through the allocation of a portion of the annual fishery quota to fund sea scallop research. A high priority of this program has traditionally been to fund fishery-independent surveys that employ different gears types including commercial dredges, a standardized sea scallop survey dredge, and cameras to assess the sea scallop resource across the species range in U.S. waters. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has been funded through this program to conduct cooperative industry-based dredge surveys at varying spatial scales since 2000. Broad scales dredge surveys of the Mid-Atlantic (MA) and Georges Bank (GB) have been conducted by VIMS since 2015 and 2016, respectively. The VIMS dredge survey follows standard protocols similar to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) sea scallop dredge survey that has surveyed the resource since the 1970s. The primary objectives of the VIMS surveys are to provide data on sea scallop abundance, spatial distribution, length structure, and other biological parameters. The surveys also have several secondary objectives, with one such objective being to collect information on finfish species encountered during the survey, including the number of animals and length data. The VIMS scallop surveys often overlap areas of historic yellowtail founder distribution, such as the Nantucket Lightship (NL) and Closed Area II (CA II). Catch data collected since 2015 by the VIMS dredge surveys were examined for trends in yellowtail flounder abundance and distribution by stock unit.



Yellowtail Flounder