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Weathervane Scallop (Patinopecten caurinus)

The scallop fishery in Alaska is jointly managed by the State of Alaska and the federal government under the Alaska Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Most aspects of scallop fishery management are delegated to the state, while limited access and other federal requirements are under jurisdiction of the federal government. The FMP was developed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) under the Magnuson Stevens Act and approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service in July 1995. The FMP was last updated and revised in 2005.

Management of the Alaska scallop fishery is achieved using "guideline harvest levels" (GHLs) which are established at the beginning of each fishing season. In addition to GHLs, most scallop fisheries have crab bycatch limits. Fisheries are closed when either GHLs or bycatch limits are met. Large areas of productive scallop habitat are also closed to scallop dredging.

The management regime requires preseason, in season, and long-term information. Preseason information on population size and health is needed to set biologically appropriate GHLs. In season, observers regularly submit information on scallop harvest and crab bycatch which is used to close the fishery when limits are met. Information on scallop biology (growth rates, size at maturity, and maximum age) is needed to help evaluate stock condition and productivity to further refine regulations.