Another scallop season is in the books for Cape Sable Island fisherman Garrett Cottreau, president of the Tri-County Scallop Association.
“We just finished fishing east of Baccaro (scallop fishing area 29 F). This year there were scallops everywhere. It was phenomenal,” said Cottreau in an interview.
The fishery in that sub-area of SFA 29 was limited to four, 12-hour fishing days, which is similar to the how some of the other five subareas of the SFA 29 west fishery that Cottreau fishes during the summer are harvested.
With an overall quota of about 150 tonnes, the SFA 29 west fishery sub-areas begin opening on June 24 and close on Aug. 31.
“To the west, catches were really good this year,” said Cottreau. “It was probably the best landings ever in (SFA 29) D. (SFA 29) C was good everywhere. (SFA 29) B was pretty good but the meat yield wasn’t that great… we’ve been seeing the best catch rates ever.”
The shore price was in the $10 to $10.50/pound range this summer, said Cottreau, which is about on par with last year.
Alan Reeves, regional senior fisheries management officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) responsible for the scallop fishery, said generally speaking, the inshore scallop fishery in the Bay of Fundy (SFA 28) and SFA 29 west “is doing quite well.”
With a TAC in the 1,000 to 1,500 metric tonne range that supports three fleets, the Bay of Fundy scallop fishery is the most important, said Reeves.
“We use very good science, its been called world class many times and it really is,” said Reeves.
“We have biomass models to predict how much commercially available scallops there are, and we have harvest controls… it’s a good system that’s working very well.”
Over the past decade or so, “science has been able to show if you keep the exploitation down, you can grow the population and maintain good catch rates… one of the objectives of the management regime was to stabilize that year-to-year population,” said Reeves. “We’re learning when to go easy and when to go a little harder with respect to exploitation… We’ve been learning how to keep that stock in the healthy zone.”
Reeves said one thing about the inshore scallop fishery is that “industry works very well with us. We have open lines of communications, the advisory committee operates very well, there are a lot of participants in the group who are very well versed in the science aspects and are committed to a maintaining a sustainable fishery. It’s really important to have that team approach and that’s what contributes to the success of the scallop fishery. It’s been ongoing for a long time.”
According to DFO statistics, the landed value in the SFA 28, SFA 29 and east of Baccaro scallop fisheries for the 2018/19 season was just over $39 million, with 3,882,204 pounds being landed. For the 2017/18 season, the landed value was $39.375 million with total landings of 3,564,06 pounds.