Improving Management of Atlantic Sea Scallops Through Optimal Rotation of Fishing Grounds Public Deposited

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  • By the mid-1990s, Atlantic sea scallop populations in the northeastern United States had been driven to near depletion due to years of excessive fishing pressure and ineffective fishing regulations. However, above-average recruitment coupled with new regulations based on reduction of fishing effort and demarcation of closed areas with restricted access resulted in a remarkable rebound of the resource starting in 1999. The extraordinary landings achieved through recent re-openings of closed portions in the Georges Bank region have provided new evidence on the advantages of management plans based on systematic closures of selected fishing grounds while allowing exploitation in adjacent areas. In this paper, a 30-year bioeconomic model was constructed to determine optimal rotation periods for the sea scallop fishery in the two major stock areas, Georges Bank and the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Results indicated that the NPV of the fishery is maximized by instituting an 8-year rotation period in Georges Bank (a six-year closure followed by 2 years of intense exploitation) and a 10-year rotation period (8-year closure and 2 years of harvesting) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The goal of the long closure periods is to allow the harvest of large scallops, which are priced at a premium in the market. Closures also lead to a more efficient extraction of the resource as biomass is allowed to accumulate in the fishing grounds. Rotational management based on long closure periods generates greater benefits to the fishery as compared to strategies based on continuous fishing activity or the shorter ramped rotations currently recommended by the fishery management authorities.
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  • Valderrama, Diego, and James L. Anderson. 2006. Improving Management of Atlantic Sea Scallops Through Optimal Rotation of Fishing Grounds. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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