Scallop Dragger License Lottery Winners Announced

Augusta - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced the first new entrants into the scallop fishery since 2009.

The winners of a recent department lottery to apply for a license include Matthew Alley from Beals Island who holds a lobster license, Chase Fitzsimmons from Lubec who has crewed on a scallop boat, Johnathon Oliver from Deer Isle who holds a lobster license, and Frank Gott from Bar Harbor, who also holds a lobster license.

Each will be responsible for applying for a scallop dragger license within 30 days of being notified. Under a law passed during the past legislative session, the license holder must own the vessel designated on the license.

The new licenses are the result of a limited entry system mandated by the legislature and implemented through regulation that allows someone who did not hold a scallop license in the previous year to be eligible for one.

In developing the limited entry system, the Department consulted with the Scallop Advisory Council (SAC). The Council recommended that eligibility for the lottery be limited to individuals 18 years of age or older to ensure that new licenses are awarded to individuals that have a good probability of being able to use the license.

The SAC also recommended designing the lottery for drag licenses to ensure that there is opportunity for both younger (18-30 years of age) and older (31 years of age and older) fishermen.

Under the regulation, each year two individuals will be awarded eligibility for a drag license through a lottery for every three individuals who did not renew their drag license in the previous calendar year. One of the licenses issued will go to an individual over the age of 18 and under the age of 31, and one of the licenses will go to an individual 31 years of age or older.

One person will also be awarded license eligibility for every person who held a commercial dive license but did not renew their license in the previous calendar year. Since no dive licenses were retired in 2017, there were no dive licenses available in the lottery.

Of the 1,290 lottery entrants, 401 applied for the 18-30 category and 889 submitted lottery applications for the 31 years and older category.

Lottery winners were chosen at random by InforME, an enterprise created in 1997 by state law to ensure access to public information through technological solutions.

The limited entry regulation also stipulated that individuals are not eligible for the lottery if they have been convicted or adjudicated of a marine resource violation that resulted in the suspension of their license within the past seven years. To be eligible for the lottery, entrants must be 18 years of age or older, must have held a commercial scallop license or have crewed aboard a commercial scallop vessel, and must not be a current commercial scallop license holder.

Beginning in 2019, eligible lottery entrants will have the opportunity to enter the lottery one additional time for each consecutive year they have entered the lottery.

Maine's scallop fishery has rebounded since 2009, when landings were 665,758 pounds, to 6.6 million pounds harvested in 2017, the most since 1998.

Pending approval of the proposed regulation that establishes the 2018-19 season, Maine's scallop season begins November 20, 2018 for divers and December 10, 2018 for draggers in Zone 1. In Zones 2 and 3, the season is scheduled to begin December 1, 2018 for divers and December 3 for draggers. Information on the 2018-2019 season can be found on the Maine DMR website.