The Scallopers Campaign… working to bring flexibility, safety, and fairness to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery.

Timeline of Industry Action and Council Response

Over the last five years, limited access scallop vessel owners have worked within the New England Fishery Management Council process to express the growing need for operational flexibility that a leasing program could provide. With consistent support from the Scallop Advisory Panel and Scallop Committee, the Council made scoping of a leasing initiative in the LA scallop fishery a priority for 2022. This is the first step toward a formal leasing amendment for this vital fishery, which has long been hamstrung by a too-rigid management structure.

Click on a year to read the timeline of the LA scallop industry’s efforts to make the case for flexibility and the steady progress that led to Council action on leasing.

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August 15, 2017 – Letter to Council

The East Coast Scallop Harvesters Association (ECSHA) requests the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) prioritize the initiation of a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) amendment and requests scoping on alternatives to current management that would add flexibility, possibly through sectors.
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October 26, 2017 – Scallop Committee Meeting

The ECSHA proposal is included in draft scallop priorities for 2018. Chairman Quinn offers Motion #6 to remove the ECSHA request for stakeholder scoping meetings on harvester associations. The Chairman subsequently withdraws his motion.
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November 21, 2017 – Executive Director (ED) Memo on Priorities

The NEFMC Executive Committee (EXCOM) meets to rank priorities for 2018. ECSHA proposal not supported by EXCOM.
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December 5, 2017 – NEFMC Meeting

The NEFMC does not include ECSHA request in its 2018 priorities.
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January 2018 – Port Meetings

The ECSHA engages with Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to conduct port meetings. Six port meetings are held to explore ways to provide needed flexibility and address the management problems in the limited access (LA) scallop fishery.
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June 22, 2018 – CBI Report

CBI issues summary report, which identifies a number of challenges in current management system, including lack of flexibility.
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September 17, 2018 – ECSHA Letter

Based on challenges identified in CBI report, the ECSHA requests the NEFMC prioritize initiation of an amendment in 2019 to secure flexibility through sectors and other means.
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October 23, 2018 – Advisory Panel (AP) Meeting

The Scallop AP includes the request by the ECSHA to address problems and challenges in the LA scallop fishery as priority #4 in 2019 priority list.
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October 24, 2018 – Scallop Committee Meeting

Committee approves 2019 work priorities and includes the ECSHA request to address problems and challenges in the LA scallop fishery.
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November 27, 2018 – EXCOM Meeting

EXCOM meets and, contrary to AP and Scallop Committee recommendations, does not include the ECSHA request for addressing problems and challenges in the LA scallop fishery in its priority recommendations.
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November 28, 2018 – ECSHA Letter

The ECSHA writes to the NEFMC requesting the EXCOM reconsider its recommendations by including two scoping sessions to further explore problems and challenges in the LA scallop fishery.
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December 5, 2018 – NEFMC Meeting

The NEFMC adopts priorities for 2019 and excludes the ECSHA request for two scoping sessions.
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June 2019 – Plan Development Team (PDT) Meeting

The PDT recommends removing “evaluation of rotational management program” from priorities, as it can be combined with performance report on LA component of scallop fishery.
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August 2019 – ECSHA

The ECSHA expands its number of supporters and brings in additional assets to represent varied interests in the LA scallop fleet from Maine to North Carolina. Launches development of a leasing pilot project for days at sea (DAS) and access area (AA) trips to demonstrate effectiveness of leasing within the LA fleet.
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September 12, 2019 – Pike Associates Letter

Letter is sent on behalf of the ECSHA to the NEFMC requesting inclusion of leasing pilot project in 2020 Council work priorities, emphasizing that scallop owners are not looking to pre-empt or displace ongoing work on Amendment 21.
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September 2019 – Executive Director

Initial list of priorities for 2020 includes “Develop limited access vessel DAS leasing pilot project suggested by East Coast Scallop Harvesters Association.”
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October 23, 2019 – AP meeting

The AP votes on 2020 priorities and includes the ECSHA proposal as the #3 scallop priority.
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October 24, 2019 – Scallop Committee Meeting

Motion is put before the Committee to accept the AP rankings for 2020 priorities. Chairman Quinn offers motion to amend by demoting “LA DAS & AA leasing pilot project” from third to seventh on the priority list. Motion passes. Final Committee ranking was #6, below the line.
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November 4, 2019 – Pike Associates Letter

Letter is sent to the NEFMC noting that the Scallop Committee rejected the AP’s recommendations and subordinated the AP’s recommended priorities by a 4-3 vote, demoting the leasing project to sixth and below the line. This letter clarifies that scallop owners request the Council begin the initial scoping work in 2020 only as time and resources allow, without displacing the important work needed on the 2021 Specifications Framework or A21.
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November 12, 2019 – EXCOM Meeting

The EXCOM meets and does not recommend the ECSHA proposal as a 2020 priority.
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November 19, 2019 – AP Meeting

The AP meets and reaffirms support for LA DAS and AA leasing pilot project as a priority for 2020.
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November 20, 2019 – Scallop Committee Meeting

The Scallop Committee does not consider the LA DAS and AA leasing pilot project.
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December 5, 2019 – NEFMC Meeting

The Council meets and votes on 2020 priorities. Leasing pilot project not included in scallop priorities; a motion is made to include leasing project in 2020 priorities. In support of motion, the ECSHA presents list of 227 LA scallop vessels in support of the NEFMC moving forward with consideration of a leasing program that provides operational flexibility. The Council rejects industry’s request to work on a leasing project in 2020.
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January 2020 – The Scallopers Campaign

As support for securing needed flexibility and resiliency grows within the industry, vessel owners form the Scallopers Campaign. Campaign establishes website.
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April 2020 – The Scallopers Campaign

The Scallopers Campaign launches online industry survey to collect operational information from vessel owners.
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May 27, 2020 – Pike Email to ED

Via email, Jeff Pike and Rick Robins advise the Council on impacts of COVID-19 and greater need for flexibility as discussed at the AP meeting the day before. The message reaffirms Scallopers Campaign support for the Council process (as opposed to the then-recent Presidential EO Promoting Seafood) and support for the Council identifying an LA scallop leasing program as a prioritized action for 2021.
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May 28, 2020 – Scallopers Campaign Letter

In a letter to the NEFMC, the Scallopers Campaign updates Council on activities, development of website, and the ongoing industry survey; pledges to share results with Council.
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July 24, 2020 – Scallopers Campaign Letter

The Scallopers Campaign formally requests the NEFMC include the development of an amendment on a leasing program that provides operational flexibility and resiliency as a 2021 priority. Letter includes detailed statement of purpose, need and opportunity for proposed leasing program.
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September 9, 2020 – Survey Results

The Scallopers Campaign releases results of owner survey and shares with the NEFMC. Survey demonstrates an overwhelming majority of vessel owners would participate; the wide range of benefits including improved safety (as oldest boats are most likely to leave fishery); and vessel owners would continue to employ the same number of captains and crew.
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September 23, 2020 – AP Meeting

The AP votes on 2021 NEFMC work priorities and recommends prioritizing “Conduct outreach to assess perspectives on scallop LA DAS and AA leasing.”
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September 25, 2020 – Scallop Committee Meeting

The Committee meets and votes on 2021 work priorities. By consensus and a unanimous vote (10-0; NEFMC Chairman Quinn and Scallop Committee Chairman Balzano not voting) includes “conduct scoping on LA DAS and AA trip leasing program to assess whether to move forward with an amendment” as a 2021 priority.
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October 1, 2020 – NEFMC Meeting

Executive Director Nies presents initial work priorities for 2021, which includes the Scallopers Campaign request from its July 24th letter recommending work on a leasing program as a 2021 priority.
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October 6, 2020 – Scallopers Campaign Letter

In a letter to all Council members, the campaign requests they support, “Conduct scoping and/or listening sessions on a LA DAS and AA trips leasing program to assess the need for a leasing program and whether to move forward with developing an amendment” as a priority for 2021.
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October 22, 2020 – EXCOM Meeting

The EXCOM meets to make recommendations on 2021 priorities. The ED recommends including work recommended by both the Scallop AP and Committee to conduct scoping/listening sessions on an LA DAS and AA trips leasing program to assess the need for a leasing program and to evaluate whether to move forward with developing an amendment. The Chair and Vice Chair quickly oppose including listening sessions on leasing; the EXCOM overrides the unanimous recommendation of the Scallop Committee and fails to recommend leasing issue to the Council.
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October 27, 2020 – NEFMC Meeting

The Council meets to vote on 2021 Priorities. Motion to include scoping/listening sessions on leasing is overcome by an unrelated substitute motion from the Vice Chair to include an evaluation of the rotational management program as priority, even though the substitute was not presented, discussed, considered or recommended by the AP, the Committee and the ED. It was also not recommended by the EXCOM.

Note: During the previous year, the Scallop PDT recommended dropping evaluation of rotational management from Council priorities and combining it with the “LA performance review report” priority, as there would likely be significant overlap between the two.

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November 3, 2020 – Scallopers Campaign Letter

The campaign sends letter to the Council requesting a reconsideration of the 2021 scallop work priorities to include scoping/listening sessions on leasing, based on the broad support from the Scallop AP, Scallop Committee, the NMFS Regional Administrator and the Council’s Executive Director. The letter notes that staff had previously stated that there was adequate staff time to start the listening process in early summer 2021.
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December 1, 2020 – NEFMC Meeting

The Scallopers Campaign request for reconsideration of the 2021 priorities is brought up during public comment period. In discussing the request, the Chairman suggests that it might not be able to be brought up again because “there is provision in Robert’s Rules that once an item is defeated it can’t be brought back up again.” The Scallopers Campaign letter, however, was previously sent to the Scallop Committee. The Council Chairman announces it is up to the Scallop Committee and the Committee Chairman (who has not supported leasing) to decide if the request will be on a future Committee agenda and what, if any, action might be taken.
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January 15, 2021 – Request for Secretarial Action

Due to the failure of the Council to even discuss a leasing proposal despite AP and Committee support, the Scallopers Campaign petitions the Secretary of Commerce to prepare an amendment to the Atlantic Scallop FMP that would authorize leasing in the LA sea scallop fishery.
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January 21, 2021 – Advisory Panel Meeting

Two members of the AP make a motion to recommend that the Scallop Committee add LA leasing to the 2021 work priorities list and that “Evaluation of Rotational Management” be pursued using additional resources to free up staff time to work on listening sessions. The motion passes 9-4 and is forwarded to the Committee for its consideration. The Committee takes no action on the matter at its January meeting.
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January 27, 2021 – NEFMC Meeting

NMFS Regional Administrator Pentony informs Council of Scallopers Campaign petition for secretarial action and that the agency will handle this through the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) process. Advises Council that NMFS will seek their views.
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February 2, 2021 – Opinion Article

Commercial Fisheries News publishes an opinion piece by Jeff Pike of the Scallopers Campaign. The piece outlines the four-year history of work by scallopers to improve flexibility in the fishery and recent decisions by the NEFMC not to include leasing listening sessions in its 2021 priority list, despite strong support from industry, the Scallop AP, and the Scallop Committee.

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March 10, 2021 – NMFS Petition Letter to NEFMC

Regional Administrator Pentony issues letter to Council requesting its views on the petition for secretarial action. Asks Council to consider merits of the petition and explain how it intends to address the issues raised in the petition. Importantly, NMFS suggests that the Council “consider the current limited access program and compare the benefits and drawbacks of developing a leasing program” even if it does not respond to the issues raised in the petition.
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March 30, 2021 – Scallopers Campaign Submits Comments for Climate Change Executive Order

The Scallopers Campaign submits written comments in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, dated January 27, 2021. Comments detail the numerous positive climate effects of adopting leasing in the scallop fishery.

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April 14, 2021 – NEFMC Meeting

Council refers NMFS petition letter to the Scallop Advisory Panel and Scallop Committee for their consideration.

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May 4, 2021 – Scallopers Campaign Letter

Scallopers Campaign sends NEFMC a letter in support of NMFS request for Council to compare benefits and drawbacks of a leasing program to current management regime.

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May 26, 2021 – Meeting with NOAA Chief of Staff

Members of the Scallopers Campaign meet with the NOAA Chief of Staff to brief her on the case for considering leasing in the LA scallop fishery and Council leadership’s efforts to shut down discussion and development of a proposal, despite overwhelming support among vessel owners for moving forward.

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June 14, 2021 – Advisory Panel Meeting

By a vote of 12-2-2, the Scallop AP adopts a motion that supports a discussion of a leasing option and recommends that the leasing issue be handled through the Council process. The AP makes it clear that it wishes those discussions to include the Scallop Committee and AP and that LA leasing should be part of the 2022 scallop work priorities.
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June 16, 2021 – Scallop Committee

The Scallop Committee does not bring the leasing issue up, despite the AP motion.