Scallopers ask NOAA head to restore some cuts

AP News
Posted: Dec 22, 2009 12:08 PM

More than 1,000 members of the East Coast scallop industry have asked the nation's chief fisheries regulator to restore 6 million pounds to the recent cut in the scallop catch.

The industry called the cuts "rapid and unnecessary" in a letter delivered Saturday to NOAA head Jane Lubchenco.

The booming scallop industry has made New Bedford the nation's highest revenue port. But in November, regulators cut annual fishing days for scallopers from 37 to 29, which lowered the projected catch by 11 million pounds. The move to protect stocks came after scallopers overshot last year's projected catch.

In the letter, industry members said restoring 6 million pounds to the catch would bring $40 million to the industry and prevent loss of market share without hurting stocks.