Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher led off the testimony against the bill.
"While the Department (of Marine Resources) is interested in discussing any additional conservation measures that would assist in further rebuilding this resource, we are very concerned that opening up the fishery to all past participants, as the bill proposes, would jeopardize the delicate balance the Department has been able to achieve between the rebuilding goals, and allowing a limited fishery," he
"In order to accommodate additional participation in the fishery from the latent fleet or new potential harvesters, other conservation measures and reductions would be required, beyond reducing the drag size and daily limit."
said that the bill would not improve the outlook for younger fishermen hoping to get into the fishery, since it limits entry to previous license holders.
DMR also opposed the drag size limit, Keliher
"The current use of more restrictive drag sizes is generally the result of past attempts to exclude a section of the fleet that does not have a smaller drag in their possession."
said DMR scientists have searched scientific literature for information on how various drag sizes affect the bottom, and found little research has been done.
Harvesters with large boats said they think they disturb the bottom less with their large drags.
One compared the difference to using a backhoe: "if you want to dig a deep hole, you use the narrow side.
If you want to skim, you use the wide side," he
Many of those who testified expressed support for making regulatory changes through the DMR's regulatory authority and the Scallop Advisory Council
rather than through legislation.
The next meeting of that group is set for April 16, 6 p.m. at Jeff's Catering in Brewer.
"Much of what has been discussed here will be on the agenda," Keliher