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Weathervane Scallop (Patinopecten caurinus)

Subsistence Fishery

Alaska Administrative Code, Chapter 2 provides for subsistence harvest of scallops in state waters of Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Kodiak Area, Alaska Peninsula-Aleutian Island Area, and the Bering Sea Area. Bag limits and seasons are generally more liberal and gear requirements less restrictive than for personal use or sport fisheries. Unlike personal use fishery catch, which may be shared only with immediate family members, subsistence fishery catch may be shared with all members of the community.

Commercial Fishery

Scallops are captured using standard New Bedford style scallop dredges that are on average 15 feet wide and weigh about 2,600 pounds. The frame provides a rigid, fixed dredge opening to which a steel ring bag (consisting of 4-inch rings linked together) is attached to collect the scallops as the dredge is towed. In response to an influx of vessels from the east coast, a vessel moratorium was implemented in state waters in 1997; eight vessels currently hold vessel-based entry permits. In a further effort to increase economic efficiency, permit holders created a scallop fishing cooperative in 2000. Some cooperative members opted to remove their boats from the fishery and arranged for their shares to be caught by other members of the cooperative, providing the remaining vessels with additional fishing opportunity. In recent seasons, only four vessels on average have participated in the fishery. This fleet of 70 to 120-ft vessels each has a crew of eight to twelve, who shuck and freeze the scallops onboard the vessels. Most of the scallops produced are marketed directly by the cooperative. Except in the Cook Inlet area, all commercial scallop fishing vessels are required to carry trained observers.

Personal Use Fishery

There are personal use scallop fisheries around the state of Alaska. A sports fishing license is required for participation. There is no closed season, but permits are required in some areas while bag and possession limits are established for others.