Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Journal Of Shellfish Research





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In 1994, Amendment 4 to the sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) fishery management plan was adopted, which restricted fishing effort by controlling vessel days at sea. crew size, and gear size. Dredge ring size was increased from 76.2 mm (3.0") to 82.6 mm (3.25") in March 1994, and again to 88.9 mm (3.5") in January 1996 to increase the age of entry of scallops into the fishery. Between June 1994 and April 1995, four trips were taken on commercial scallop vessels in the western mid-Atlantic to determine harvest efficiency of 88.9-mm dredge rings relative to 82.6-mm dredge rings used in the fishery at the time. Our study focused on the abundant and nearly ubiquitous 3-year-old, 1990 year class. At the time, individuals in this year class were approaching the size (70 mm) of both full recruitment to the gear and recruitment into the fishery. Relative harvest efficiency of this year class ranged from 60% to 72% over the study period. The 88.9-mm rings were found to be 90% efficient when scallops had grown to a size of 100-105 mm. The 88.9-mm ring dredge would therefore delay full recruitment of the 1990 year class for almost 1 y relative to the 82.6-mm ring dredge. Analysis shows that this delay could increase yield-per-recruit by almost 10% and spawning stock biomass by 40% to 60%,. Benefits of the gear modifications will only be fully realized when used in conjunction with other measures that reduce or stabilize fishing effort.


Sea Scallop; Relative Harvest Efficiency; Ring Size; Placopecten Magellanicus

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.