Commercial practices and fishery regulations: The United States Northwest Atlantic sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus (Gmelin, 1791), fishery

J. E. Kirkley, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
W. D. duPaul, Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Fishery regulations are based on discipline specific concepts, empirical analyses, and public comment. Supporting empirical analyses, however, often neglect commercial fishing practices. If supporting analyses do not adequately consider commercial practices, resultant regulations may fail to achieve stated objectives and impose unnecessary costs on industry. This may have been the case for the United States Atlantic sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus , fishery in which empirical analyses determined a target specification of 30 meats per pound, as a maximum average value, would provide significant long-term benefits in terms of yield per recruit and the overall productivity of the resource. Targeted meat count pertained to carefully resected scallops. Industry practices, however, yield different weights and meat counts. These differences suggest that realization of the 30 MPP target count does not require commercially landed scallops to yield, on average, 30 MPP. The relationship between the science, commercial practices, and the determination and enforcement of fishery regulations is discussed.